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NICE backs two advanced breast cancer drugs after price cuts

An estimated 8,000 women will be eligible to receive the drugs due to discounts


Women in England and Wales with advanced breast cancer can now get access to two CDK 4/6 inhibitor drugs - Pfizer’s Ibrance and Novartis’ Kisqali - after pricing negotiations between the companies and the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Ibrance was rejected by NICE in February on the grounds that it was too expensive, but the agency has now re-considered its decision after Pfizer submitted an “improved patient access scheme”. Meanwhile, Novartis’ recently approved Kisqali has become the first drug to be recommended under NICE’s updated cancer appraisal process, which aims to review drugs within 90 days of regulatory approval.

Both drugs - which cost £2,950 per cycle of treatment before confidential discounts - have been approved for the first-line treatment of advanced breast cancer in combination with an aromatase inhibitor in women with hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative tumours. NICE has recommended that Kisqali can be used in post-menopausal patients, while Ibrance can be used in this group as well as younger women.

The draft guidance for palbociclib and ribociclib means that an estimated 8,000 women will be eligible to receive the new drugs, which in trials have been shown to slow the progression of advanced breast cancer by around 10 months.

“By postponing disease progression, palbociclib and ribociclib may reduce the number of people who are exposed to the often-unpleasant side effects of chemotherapy, and delay the need for its use in others,” commented Prof Carole Longson, director of the centre for health technology evaluation at NICE.

“We are pleased therefore that the companies have been able to agree reductions to the price of palbociclib and ribociclib to allow them to be made routinely available to people with this type of breast cancer,” she added.

The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) welcomed the news, with Prof Nicholas Turner, the ICR’s professor of molecular oncology, describing the CDK 4/6 inhibitors as “one of the most important breakthroughs for women with advanced breast cancer in the last two decades”.

“In clinical trials, palbociclib and ribociclib have made a huge difference to women’s lives - slowing down tumour growth for nearly a year, and delaying the need for chemotherapy with all its potentially debilitating side-effects,” he added. “These drugs have allowed women to live a normal life for longer.”

Ibrance was the first of the two drugs to reach the market and has already achieved blockbuster status, bringing in $2.1bn in sales last year, and is expected to grow into a $6bn product in 2022. Kisqali has a lot of ground to catch up but is still expected to be a big seller, reaching $1.6bn in sales in the same year, according to EvaluatePharma.

Article by
Phil Taylor

16th November 2017

From: Regulatory



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