A recent announcement stated that Dendreon’s immunotherapy Provenge (sipuleucel-T) is too expensive to be used as a treatment for advanced prostate cancer under the National Health Service in England.
In preliminary draft guidelines out this morning, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has rejected the drug’s use to treat men with metastatic prostate cancer before they have received chemotherapy.
It is my personal opinion, Dendreon’s economic plans for survival is directly hitched to getting the drug used in Europe where it has been approved by regulators. Given the massive economic woes Dendreon faces, the decision in the UK to not use Provenge can be described only as a major setback which greatly increases the risk that the treatment might soon no longer be available to men with advanced prostate cancer.
I’ve always felt quite frustrated and very unhappy that Dendreon has not been able to flourish so that we could be secure in always having Provenge available as a treatment modality. This guidance issued by the National Health Service is a major blow and increases the risk that Provenge might become unavailable in the very near future.
So what does this mean, I urge each and everyone of you who may qualify to get Provenge NOW as it might not be available in the near future. I hate being a naysayer, I hope I am 100% wrong, but if I am not I urge that you take advantage now while it is still available.
Joel T Nowak, M.A., M.S.W.