- Associated Press - Friday, October 14, 2011

LONDON (AP) - An independent British medical watchdog says the first treatment proven to help people with the deadliest form of skin cancer live longer is too expensive.

In draft advice issued Friday, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence said Bristol-Meyers Squibb’s Yervoy, “could not be considered a cost-effective use” of health funds. A final decision is expected next month after a public consultation.

The government usually adopts NICE’s recommendations, meaning doctors in the government-funded health service cannot prescribe Yervoy without NICE’s approval.

Yervoy, which if for people with advanced melanoma, is given in four doses that cost a total of 80,000 pounds (US$126,628).

A recent study found the drug nearly doubled the number of patients who survived at least three years.

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