The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has advised the NHS against funding for a drug used for advanced ovarian cancer.
In two separate pieces of final guidance published for the health service, NICE concludes that funding the drug, bevacizumab - known as Avastin, manufactured by Roche - on the NHS does not represent the best use of taxpayers' money.
Sir Andrew Dillon, chief executive at NICE, said: "The NHS has finite resources so it's important that only the most cost-effective treatments - drugs that work well considering their cost and potential side-effects - are recommended.
"NICE has published guidance on two specific uses of bevacizumab as an advanced ovarian cancer treatment and we're naturally disappointed that we can't recommend it in either instance. Unfortunately, the evidence provided to the Appraisal Committee - which developed these two pieces of guidance for NICE - highlighted that, in both cases, bevacizumab was not cost-effective."
Ovarian cancer is classed as ‘advanced' once it spreads outside a woman's ovaries. This can either be to nearby surrounding tissue (locally advanced) or more distant parts of the body (metastatic disease).
Bevacizumab aims to stop the disease from spreading by targeting the tumour's blood supply, which it needs to grow and spread.
However, as a result of two separate reviews, NICE does not recommend bevacizumab; when used in combination with certain chemotherapy drugs as a first treatment for advanced ovarian cancer; or when used with specific other treatments for the first recurrence of advanced ovarian cancer if it has returned six months or more after initial treatment with certain chemotherapy.
NICE said that despite the negative recommendations, both guidance documents state women with advanced ovarian cancer already receiving bevacizumab as part of one of these treatment combinations can continue.
The publication of this guidance now replaces local NHS recommendations across England and Wales.