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NICE confirms Velcade decision

Patients who have been diagnosed with bone cancer will now be able to get access to a life-extending drug via the NHS, it has been confirmed.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) had initially issued guidance which stated that Velcade (bortezomib) would not be available on the NHS in England and Wales.

However, the move caused outrage among cancer charities, which claimed that the decision had been made due to the treatment's cost, and NICE subsequently reversed its ruling.

In June, the organisation issued a draft recommendation which stated that the drug would be available for multiple myeloma sufferers in England and Wales who responded well to it.

Millennium, the drug's manufacturer, has said it will refund the NHS when the treatment does not not work for patients or only has a minimal effect.

Andrew Dillon, NICE's chief executive, said: "The scheme proposed by the manufacturer and amended by NICE will ensure that patients at first relapse, who have had one prior therapy and who have had or are unsuitable for a bone marrow transplantation will get the chance to see if the drug works well for them."

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