UK Recommends Against Buying Breast Cancer Drug

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LONDON — Britain's health watchdog on Thursday recommended against buying a breast cancer drug for patients with advanced disease.

In a statement, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence said that lapatinib, sold as Tyverb by GlaxoSmithKline PLC, is not cost-effective. The drug costs about 1,600 pounds ($2,300) per treatment course in Britain. Glaxo said the decision would mean about 2,000 patients in the U.K. will no longer get the drug.

Tyverb is given to women with advanced breast cancer in combination with another drug, after they have failed to improve with standard medicines like Herceptin. There are no other licensed treatments available to treat these women. The drug is widely available in countries including the U.S., Iceland, Czech Republic and elsewhere.

Glaxo called the decision "deeply disappointing."

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