Erbitux® (cetuximab): make your voice count!

NICE have given a preliminary negative recommendation for the use of Erbitux + radiotherapy.

As some of you may have heard, NICE has recently published the first draft of its guidance on the use of Erbitux in combination with radiation therapy for the treatment of locally or regionally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.This initial draft recommends that the treatment should NOT be funded on the NHS.

As we all know, there have been very few developments in the treatment of head and neck cancer over the years, so any treatment options are very important to those who could benefit. Furthermore, Erbitux has been approved for use in Scotland as well as Europe. So should this draft guidance remain unchanged, then people with head and neck cancer in England and Wales will be denied access to a treatment which is available in other areas of the UK.

I am sure that you will feel as strongly as I do that it is important that we speak out on the behalf of patients who have experienced cancer of the head and neck or who may be affected by it in the future. 24 of you voted for it being made available when I sought your views for submission to the Scottish Medicines Consortium which has approved it for patients in Scotland.

The draft is open to public consultation until 5pm on 26th February. So if you believe, like me, that it is important for patients to have access to this medicine, please register your views on this to NICE directly through this link. All the feedback on the draft which is submitted to NICE during this time is taken into account by its committee before the Guidance is issued.

Additionally, any comments that you would like to share with the Mouth cancer Foundation on this issue would be most welcome and will be taken into account in the charity’s response to NICE.

Best wishes
Vinod Coffee
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