It’s not been a good week for men. Hot on the heels of two other disappointing decisions, NICE (the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence) has just announced their intention not to make enzalutamide routinely available to men with advanced prostate cancer who haven’t had chemotherapy.
Enzalutamide is a type of hormone therapy for men whose prostate cancer has spread to other parts of the body and has stopped responding to other hormone treatments. When used by men who have not already had chemotherapy, it helps them to live longer, by 2.2 months on average, and can also help control symptoms.
However, in yet another example of a failing appraisal system, NICE and the manufacturer didn’t get together to work out some of the issues around cost and data from trials of the drug. This is a huge disappointment, and we urge NICE and the manufacturer to work collaboratively to sort this out.
Owen Sharp, our Chief Executive sums it up: “It’s the same old story. We need to see NICE and the manufacturer to work together to reverse this draft decision. Clinicians should have the flexibility to prescribe the drug at this earlier stage if they feel it would benefit the men they are treating.
“This and other recent draft prostate cancer drug decisions serve to reiterate the need for reform of the drug appraisal process in England. We are working as part of a coalition of cancer charities with government to deliver a long-term, sustainable solution to the drug appraisal and funding systems in England. We need a system that delivers the best decisions for patients and their individual situation.”
It looks like NICE is preparing to make prostate cancer treatment radium-223 routinely available on the NHS for some men with advanced prostate cancer – those who have already had chemotherapy and whose prostate cancer has spread to the bones. However NICE’s draft decision looks like bad news all round for degarelix.