Last week I passed along a surprising and disappointing report about how the use of Revlimid was possibly going to be restricted in the UK. Here is a follow-up article, listing thalidomide as the approved alternative. Why? Cost of course! Guess they don’t care if British multiple myeloma patients limp around with peripheral neuropathy–as long as it saves a few bucks:
NICE draft guidance recommends bortezomib and thalidomide for multiple myeloma
By Tim Locke
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks
26th August 2010 – The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is recommending two treatments for multiple myeloma – thalidomide and bortezomib.
Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that develops from cells in the bone marrow.
There is no cure, but treatments can stop the progress of the condition and help to relieve symptoms.
Approximately 3,600 cases of multiple myeloma are diagnosed every year in the UK.
In draft guidance issued today, thalidomide, in combination with an alkylating agent and a corticosteroid, is recommended for the first-line treatment of multiple myeloma in people for whom high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplantation is considered inappropriate.
The article ends this way:
Until final guidance is issued, local NHS organisations will have to make local decisions about funding these treatments.
Go to NICE draft guidance to read the balance of the article.
This is another example of how high chemotherapy drug costs can negatively affect patients. But expensive or not, hopefully some of those local NHS decisions will include Revlimid!
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat