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NICE backs Roche’s Perjeta for routine NHS use

Set to become first new breast cancer drug in nine years after discount agreed
Roche Perjeta

Roche's Perjeta is on track to become the first new breast cancer drug available to NHS patients for nearly a decade after NICE backed it in draft guidance.

Given in combination with Herceptin (trastuzumab) and docetaxel, Perjeta (pertuzumab) was recommended to treat women with HER2-positive, locally advanced, inflammatory or early-stage breast cancer at high risk of recurrence.

It marks a U-turn by the cost-effectiveness watchdog and follows a new pricing agreement with Roche, which will see a confidential discount added to the drug's £9,580 four-cycle list price.

However, Richard Erwin, general manager of Roche UK, said that the ruling “was not simply about price - the medicine in this setting met the cost effectiveness threshold”.

He added: “This was about NICE accepting that one of the clinical trial endpoints; pathological complete response (pCR), was more likely than not to have an association with longer term survival.”

NICE previously rejected Perjeta citing unclear long-term benefits, but has now accepted evidence that the combination therapy is more successful at shrinking tumours in the breast and lymph nodes in preparation for surgery than Herceptin and chemotherapy alone.

Mia Rosenblatt, assistant director of policy and campaigns at patient group Breast Cancer Now, said that the regulator's verdict is a “huge leap forward” in breast cancer care.

She commented: “For the small number of women eligible, this drug could mean an enormous amount. It could help shrink their tumours to reduce the extent of the surgery they require or even make inoperable cancers operable.

“With eligible patients able to access this drug immediately, we can now continue to evaluate how much this promising treatment will improve patients' overall survival.”

Over 50,000 women and around 340 men are diagnosed with breast cancer annually, and approximately 1,380 women with this aggressive subtype of breast cancer will be eligible for treatment with Perjeta each year in England and Wales.

Article by
Rebecca Clifford

17th November 2016

From: Regulatory

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