A SERIES of kidney cancer drugs could no longer be available to Gwent patients on the NHS.

Doctors in Wales have been told to stop prescribing the drugs after the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) said they were not cost effective.

This comes just seven months after health minister for Wales, Edwina Hart, allowed local health boards to make the drugs available to patients despite not being approved by NICE.

But NICE announced yesterday that Nexavar, Avastin and Torisel are not recommended for the first set of treatment for advanced kidney cancer.

In March it recommended Sutent for first line treatment, but not second line treatment as it was unlikely to be of benefit if it was not successful the first time.

Sutent costs £3,363 for 30 capsules.

NICE’s clinical and public health director, Professor Peter Littlejohns, said the use of the other first and second line treatments is not strong enough to justify using NHS funds.

He said these funds could be used for other cancer treatment programmes or in other treatment areas.

NICE said patients currently getting these drugs should continue to do so until their doctors believe it is appropriate for them to stop.

The daughter of a Chepstow grandmother who died from kidney cancer in March after being denied Sutent on the NHS said this new guidance is “unbelievable.”

Selyna Jones’ mum, Vivienne Ellis, was diagnosed with advanced kidney cancer in June 2008 and had a kidney removed.

Ms Ellis was denied Sutent, which can prolong the lives of kidney cancer sufferers, and was told she would have to pay around £2,000 a month for the drug herself.

Mrs Jones said her mum managed to pay for the first month after getting money from her family, but it made her quite ill and the doctors could not put her back on it.

She said her mum did not have the chance to try a smaller dose and might have tolerated a high dosage if she went on it earlier.

Mrs Jones said: “Some people do really well on it but they don’t know if they don’t go on it. It’s about giving people the chance.

“They waste so much money on other things. Cancer care shouldn’t be an area where they should try and save money. There are such few options with kidney cancer anyway.”

A spokesman for the Assembly said Edwina Hart is considering the NICE guidance and taking advice from clinicians.