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Positive news for CML patients as dasatinib is made routinely available on NHS

The Bloodwise logo. Bloodwise appears in black text against a white background
Posted by
01 Dec 2016

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has announced that the drug dasatinib will be made routinely available on the NHS in England to patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML).

Draft guidance issued last week by NICE recommends the use of dasatinib in chronic phase CML patients who have not previously undergone any treatment and patients with chronic or accelerated phase disease who have become resistant to standard treatment, imatinib, and those patients for whom imatinib is unsuitable. The announcement follows a similar decision by the Scottish Medicines Consortium in September this year to recommend the drug for Scottish patients.

Until now, dasatinib has only been available to patients in England via the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF), and only if they had previously not responded to or become resistant to both imatinib and nilotinib (another tyrosine kinase inhibitor drug). Doctors will now be able to choose the most effective and suitable treatment for individual patients straight away.

Diana Jupp, Acting CEO at Bloodwise, said: “We’re delighted that dasatinib will be soon be made routinely available to patients in England, following a similar decision in Scotland. Drugs such as imatinib and nilotinib have transformed the outlook for CML in recent years, but they will not be suitable for all patients. This decision allows doctors to choose the most suitable available treatment for each individual patient.”

Kris Griffin, a CML patient and patient advocate, said: “I'm delighted to hear that CML patients will be able to access dasatinib as first and second line treatment. I know, from personal experience, that dasatinib is a drug that, for people who have failed imatinib or another drug, gives us another opportunity to live a normal life.

However, I am concerned that dasatinib has not been recommended for use in blast phase because of the small patient population. This is a problem we come across time and time again and it's about time the system reflected upon its ability to serve all patient groups fairly.

More patients will access dasatinib and I'm very happy about this and whilst I commend much of the decision-making process in this instance, there is still a way to go. This decision shows the importance of stakeholders who keep the pressure on and ensure that the needs of blood cancer patients are met.”

NICE says that it expects to publish its final guidance on the use of dasatinib next month, with routine access to the drug in place by March 2017. More details on the announcement is available on the NICE website.

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