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U.K. Won’t Back Erbitux, Avastin, Vectibix for Colon Cancer

The U.K.’s health-cost agency refused to back Merck KGaA’s Erbitux, Roche Holding AG’s Avastin and Amgen Inc.’s Vectibix as secondary treatments for advanced colon cancer in its final draft guidance.

The treatments didn’t meet criteria to help people facing the end of their lives, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, known as NICE, said today in an e-mailed statement.

The agency advises the National Health Service on which treatments represent value for money. It already has recommended six treatments for various stages of colon cancer, including Erbitux for first-line treatment of advanced cases with wild-type KRAS tumors.

Avastin, whose generic name is bevacizumab, failed to win final backing of NICE earlier this year for the treatment of breast cancer that has spread. The appraisal committee said Feb. 23 that it was unable to conclude that Avastin extended patients’ lives when combined with chemotherapy.

“The independent appraisal committee which drafted the recommendations does not feel it has enough evidence, especially in the case of bevacizumab, to feel confident in recommending these drugs for use on the NHS” for colon cancer, Andrew Dillon, chief executive of NICE, said today in the statement.

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