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Roche Cancer Drug Tarceva Is Rejected by U.K. Health-Cost Agency

Roche Holding AG’s Tarceva was rejected by U.K. health-spending regulators as a treatment for keeping the most common form of lung cancer at bay because the drug didn’t extend patients’ lives enough to justify the cost.

Roche didn’t prove that the drug, also known as erlotinib, could prolong a life by at least three months, researchers at the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence said in an article published online today in The Lancet Oncology.

Estimates of the medicine’s cost ranged from 47,000 pounds ($75,200) per additional year of life to more than 50,000 pounds, exceeding the institute’s usual upper annual limit of 30,000 pounds, according to the report by Fiona Rinaldi, a technical adviser at the London-based regulator; NICE Associate Director Elizabeth George; and Peter Clark, chairman of the independent appraisal committee.

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