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Eisai criticises NHSE for further delaying access to cancer treatments

26 February 2016  •  Author: Victoria White

Eisai has strongly criticised NHS England (NHSE) for further delaying access to a number of new cancer treatments.

eisai

The delay is a result of the implementation by NHSE of a new Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF), following a consultation NHSE confirmed at their Board meeting earlier this week. Those new licensed drugs that have been denied access since May 2015, will have to wait until at least July 2016 before they can be considered for the fund, though details around this process are vague.

Eisai’s Lenvima (lenvatinib) is one such drug that has been stuck in limbo as a result of the consultation. Lenvatinib is used to treat an advanced form of thyroid cancer and may delay the progression of the cancer to a median of 18.3 months, compared to 3.6 months with placebo. Eisai has confirmed that patients in England may have to wait for an unspecified period in order to access lenvatinib.

“An utterly disgraceful situation”

“This is devastating news for patients with advanced thyroid cancer. These patients may belong to a small group, only 200 patients per year, but their need is great. Lenvatinib can make a real difference to the lives of patients due to its significant progression free survival benefit and so this news is particularly hard to understand,” commented Dr Jonathan Wadsley, Consultant Clinical Oncologist, University of Sheffield.

“The decision to implement the new CDF pretty much as it was proposed in the consultation will put cancer treatment back to where England was prior to the creation of the Fund which is a tragedy for patients. Time is not a luxury that these patients have. I implore NHS England to rethink the decision around access to drugs that have been licensed since May 2015 to ensure important treatments like lenvatinib are made available to people as soon as possible. This is a drug that is manufactured in Hertfordshire, exported across the world, and yet people in England are denied access to it. This is an utterly disgraceful situation,” added Gary Hendler, CEO Eisai EMEA and President, Global Oncology Business Unit.

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