Novartis Oncology will appeal the decision made by the UK’s drug advisory body to reject cancer treatment Afinitor (everolimus), based on concerns that it is not cost-effective.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) decided not provide final appraisal determination recommendation for the treatment, which is available in the EU, despite Novartis Oncology’s offer of a discount-based patient access scheme.

The UK body claimed that the high cost of providing the drug on the NHS outweighed its benefits to patients, but did acknowledge it as the only proven effective treatment for advanced kidney cancer patients who have failed first-line therapy.

Barts and the London NHS Trust consultant medical oncologist Dr Thomas Powles said that the decision means that patients are not getting access to an effective cancer treatment that is widely available in other EU countries.

“Everolimus doubles the amount of time patients can live without their disease progressing,” he said. “NICE’s rejection is based on a lack of cost-effectiveness rather than clinical effectiveness.”

The UK Government’s Interim Cancer Drug Fund does, however, allow some patients to gain access to everolimus on the basis of this clinical activity.

Although the drug is expected to cost up to £99 pre patient per day in the UK, the high costs are reimbursed in other EU countries, including Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain and Switzerland.