NHS patients with advanced soft tissue carcinoma will not have access to Yondelis (trabectedin) because it is not cost-effective, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) ruled in July 2009.
Spanish drugmaker Zeltia’s Yondelis is an alkylating agent that damages the DNA of cancer cells.
Under new rules unveiled in January 2009, NICE is now more flexible when considering drugs for end-of-life care. However, despite agreeing that Yondelis meets the criteria for being a life-extending, end-of-life treatment which could increase patient survival by up to three months, NICE concluded that the benefits do not justify use of NHS resources as the drug is still not cost-effective.
A second appraisal committee meeting is scheduled for 4th August 2009, with comments on the consultation taken up until 21st July 2009.
Further reading - An in-depth analysis of the UK pharmaceutical market, including some background information on NICE, is available from Espicom: The Pharmaceutical Market: United Kingdom (published March 2009)