The European Medicines Agency (EMEA) has recommended the use of breast cancer drug Herceptin in early stages of the cancer in a record 27 days review. A license for the drug is to be issued in three months time.
The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence in the UK will decide now if Herceptin can be recommended in the NHS. The drug, which costs Ģ20,000 a year, is already being fast tracked by NICE. "We will be able to issue national guidance to the NHS on the use of Herceptin within weeks of the drug being licensed for safety by the EMEA," said Andrew Dillon, NICE chief executive.
Herceptin is already licensed for use in advanced breast cancer. But some trials showed that it is useful in early stages as well and the UK has seen a number of women drag NHS trusts to court over refusal to fund the drug. Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt had said last October that NHS bodies must not refuse the drug, if the doctors had recommended it.