Regulators approve new drug for skin cancer treatment

Regulators approve new drug for skin cancer treatment

The regulators in the United Kingdom have approved a new drug for the treatment for skin cancer under the National Health Service or NHS.

England's drug cost watchdog approved the £5,700 per month price of the drug for use in the NHS.The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said that the drug called, nivolumab can be used in the NHS. The drug is a type of immunotherapy which stimulates the body's immune system to fight cancer cells.

Experts said that the melanoma patients survive much longer with the drug that is given bya drip instead of chemotherapy. They found that the one year survival rate was 73 per cent for people taking nivolumab compared to 42 per cent for chemotherapy. Experts have said that the drug will help around 1,400 patients a year and had urged NICE to approve it for the NHS. Prof Paul Workman, chief executive of the Institute of Cancer Research in London, said that it is necessary that new treatments are provided to patients quickly.

Johanna Mercier, general manager of Bristol-Myers Squibb in the UK, which makes the drug, said, "We welcome today's decision from Nice, which is positive news for melanoma patients in the UK.However, we are mindful that lung cancer patients continue to await a final decision on this medicine.Recently, Nice issued draft guidance, which does not recommend nivolumab in advanced lung cancer. Its final guidance for these patients will be issued in May 2016."

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