Studies on Abraxane show its life-extending potentials in several cases, giving pancreatic cancer patients an additional two months in life-expectancy. United Kingdom's (UK) National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) says it can't provide Abraxane together with chemotherapy drug gemcitabine due to budget cost.

Abraxane's removal from the list of drugs in the Cancer Drugs Fund means the drug won't even be allowed prescription in the UK. Oncologists and cancer charities expressed their dismay at its complications to patients and clinicians in England, especially when patients in Wales and Scotland can still avail of the drug.

Dr. Harpreet Wasan, an oncologist based in London, says the depressing news about the unavailability of Abraxane is a double blow to patients and families who deal with pancreatic cancer. 

In the UK, about 8,800 people are diagnosed with the cancer every year, one of the few cases with very little progress in treatment and survival rate. Clinical tests using a combination of Abraxane and gemcitabine show an improvement in survival rates when compared to the use of gemcitabine alone. The addition of two months in a patient's chance for survival is a huge improvement, especially since the survival rates show no progress in the past 40 years.

"Abraxane, in combination with gemcitabine, is becoming standard of care for metastatic pancreatic cancer across the Western world and we are very saddened that English patients will not have any access to it via the NHS," says Ali Stunt, Founder and CEO of Pancreatic Cancer Action.

Stunt adds that the NICE's decision to withhold Abraxane is unjust. Pancreatic cancer patients already suffer the lowest survival rates. The drug's availability in Scotland and Wales is very unfair.

Carl Denning, a businessman from Hunslet, expresses his huge disappointment, claiming that his will to fight the illness has been crushed by NICE. The 41-year-old businessman has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2012 and has been using Abraxane as his lifeline.

"It's almost like they're turning the machine off on people," says Denning. "It's a lifeline for people to survive and they're now taking that off them."

Originally licensed to treat breast cancer, Abraxane costs £8,000 or approximately $12,433 annually. NICE defends that the slight increase in life expectancy fails to make the drug cost effective.

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