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CTI launches cancer drug Pixuvri in UK

Now available to treat form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma
Cell Therapeutics Pixuvri pixantrone

Cell Therapeutics Inc (CTI) has launched its cancer treatment Pixuvri in the UK.

Pixuvri (pixantrone) becomes the first drug available in the UK as a monotherapy treatment option for adults with multiply relapsed or refractory aggressive B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The UK launch comes 18 months after Pixuvri was first introduced in Europe in Sweden, Denmark and Finland after winning conditional approval from the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Concerns about the cost of the drug have led to problems with market access bodies, however, including the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in England and Wales.

NICE, which recommends which drugs are a cost-effective use of NHS resources, initially turned down the use of Pixuvri last year, claiming there was not enough evidence to demonstrate the drug was more effective than existing treatment options.

The decision marked the beginning of a battle between CTI and NICE, with the health watchdog once again turning down the drug in October 2013, despite CTI agreeing to a discount through a patient access scheme.

NICE finally relented at the beginning of 2014, although with a recommendation that Pixuvri only be available for patients previously treated with Roche's MabThera (rituximab) and who are receiving third or fourth line treatment.

Nevertheless, the recommendation was an important one for CTI and the UK lymphoma community, paving the way for yesterday's launch.

“We are please to be able to bring Pixuvri to patients in the UK, addressing a critical gap in care for patients at this stage of the disease living with few, it any, effective treatment options,' said CTI's president and CEO Dr James Bianco.

CTI has also overcome similar access problems in other markets. In Germany, the health technology assessment (HTA) body IQWIG turned down the drug in March last year, although these pricing issues were later resolved at the end of 2013, meaning Pixuvri is available for reimbursement.

Article by
Thomas Meek

30th April 2014

From: Sales

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