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New cancer treatments on the NHS





Two new treatments for advanced lung and stomach cancer will be approved for use on the NHS, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) has announced.

Pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca has put forward a patient access scheme so the NHS pays a one-off fee for Iressa (gefitinib), which is suitable for some patients with lung cancer who have a genetic mutation.

People will be treated for free for the first two months, with the NHS then making a one-off payment of £12,200 for those patients who stay on the drug, irrespective of the length of their treatment.

The draft guidance from Nice is open to consultation.

In a second piece of draft guidance, Nice approved Xeloda (capecitabine) for advanced gastric (stomach) cancer, which affects around 8,200 people each year in the UK.

Dr Carole Longson, Director of the Health Technology Evaluation Centre at Nice, said patients would require fewer visits to hospital because the treatment is with tablets, rather than a standard infusion pump.

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