New €9,600 cancer drug 'too costly'
AN EXPERT group has recommended that the HSE should not make available a new drug that would cost more than €9,600 per cancer patient each month.
US pharmaceutical firm Celgene last year submitted a business case to the National Centre for Pharmaeconomics (NCPE) for the HSE to make available Imnovid to treat patients with multiple myeloma.
Celgene states that the drug, which can be taken orally, has been shown both to extend life and improve the quality of life of patients with multiple myeloma.
However, following a evaluation by the NCPE, it is not recommending reimbursement of Imnovid at the current price, as it is not cost effective.
Multiple myeloma currently has no cure and each year, there are 240 cases of the bone cancer diagnosed in Ireland.
The most recent figures show that for 2012, the breakdown was 145 cases in men and 101 in women.
The business case advanced by Celgene estimated the cost of the drug to the HSE totalled €15.2m over five years.
The Irish Cancer Society called for a "dialogue" on drug prices to begin.
"If the outcome of that discussion was that prices could be reduced, the NCPE may be able to approve a greater number of cancer treatments," said Kathleen O'Meara, Head of Advocacy with the Society.