Thursday, 17 September 2009

UK - NICE Rejects Appeal Over Kidney Cancer Drugs

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has rejected an appeal to make Avastin (bevacizumab), Nexavar (sorafenib) and Torisel (temsirolimus) available on the NHS for patients with renal cancer.

NICE issued guidance on 26th August 2009, which does not recommend Roche’s Avastin, Bayer’s Nexavar and Wyeth’s Torisel as a first-line treatment for advanced and/or metastatic renal cell carcinoma. NICE has also refused approval on the NHS for the use of Nexavar and Sutent (sunitinib) as secondary treatment options.

In August 2008, all four drugs were rejected as first-line treatments, but NICE changed its mind about Pfizer’s Sutent in March 2009, approving it for NHS use. However, NICE still rejected the other three drugs because they were not considered to be a cost effective use of NHS resources. An appeal was lodged against the Final Appraisal Determination by Roche, Wyeth, the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer and a joint appeal from Rarer Cancer Forum and Macmillan Cancer Support, but these have not been upheld.

NICE said Avastin costs £,5,982 per patient for the first six-week cycle and £6,117 for subsequent six-week cycles (around £53,000 per patient per year). Nexavar is £2,980.47 for 112 tablets while Torisel costs £620 per vial.

The guidance will be considered for review in June 2011.

Further reading - An in-depth review of the UK pharmaceutical market, including more information on NICE, is available from Espicom: The Pharmaceutical Market: United Kingdom (published June 2009)

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