British Government Denies Children Access to Proven Cancer Treatment for Neuroblastoma
Decision will force UK families to travel abroad to access treatment
The British healthcare system has rejected an FDA/EMA-approved treatment proven to increase survival rates for children with cancer. NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) has rejected access to the drug across the UK, stating cost as the reason. However, when analyzing the real expense on taxpayers, the cost amounts to less than 3 pence per person, per year, in order to give these children access to the life-saving antibody.
The immunotherapy drug, dinutuximab, is the only treatment approved specifically for high-risk neuroblastoma an aggressive childhood cancer that has a current 5-year survival rate of less than 50%. Dinutuximab was shown to increase this survival rate in a comprehensive study conducted in the US. The decision to refuse access to this antibody will have profound implications for children with this diagnosis. Although antibody therapy is not a cure for all, it has been shown to significantly increase the chance of survival and children are alive today, living a full life because of this medication.
Solving Kids’ Cancer EU has taken action by submitting a formal appeal to NICE on the grounds of inappropriate metrics. The decision was made using calculations for cost-effectiveness in large populations of adult chronic diseases, not rare and deadly childhood cancers. Such a decision is grossly unfair and will impact all families with neuroblastoma and the entire childhood cancer community because it allows access to cures to be disrupted across borders. In the US, Solving Kids Cancer is supporting the European efforts by initiating a letter of support for the appeal signed by several leading US-based pediatric oncologists.
Scott Kennedy, Founder of Solving Kids Cancer US, exclaimed, Cures should have no borders! Families who are facing this heartbreaking diagnosis will now have to worry about fundraising just so they can afford to travel to other countries for treatment. This is an absurd injustice in a country with one of the most advanced health systems!
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