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NICE finally set to back wider use of Ferring's Firmagon

And acknowledges drug's benefits for prostate cancer that spreads to the spine
Ferring Firmagon degarelix

Ferring's Firmagon (degarelix) has been recommended for use by the NHS in England by the country's cost-effectiveness watchdog NICE.

It follows a protracted appeals process over 2014 guidance that had limited use of the prostate cancer drug to a narrow patient population.

In final draft guidance issued today NICE backed Firmagon to treat advanced hormone-dependent prostate cancer, if Ferring continues to offer it at a discounted cost.

The pharma company currently has an agreement in place with the NHS' Commercial Medicines Unit for secondary care, and a commercial scheme available to clinical commissioning groups for primary care.

Ferring UK's general manager Steve Howson said: “NICE's decision represents a significant step forward, and is very good news for men living with advanced hormone-dependent prostate cancer, who are in need of rapid control of their condition.

“This has been a long process but throughout … we have maintained our firm belief that Firmagon can have a significant impact on patients' lives. We are delighted that our belief will now be realised across the UK.”

In a statement NICE said its appraisal committee “acknowledged the particular benefit of degarelix for people with advanced hormone-dependent prostate cancer with spinal metastases”.

When NICE backed Firmagon in 2014 it limited its use to men who were already experiencing symptoms of spinal cord compression, but for many of those patients by the time they experience such symptoms it is often too late for the drug to benefit them.

Heather Blake, director of support and influencing at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “Men whose prostate cancer is so advanced that it has spread to their spine live at risk of their spinal cord being compressed - a serious condition that can be very debilitating.

“Today's decision is critical for those men who already have cancer in their spine when they begin hormone therapy treatment, because degarelix is the only one of these treatments which can provide immediate reduction of cancer in the bone and stop this awful condition taking hold.

NICE's final draft guidance is now in consultation and final guidance is expected to be published in August.

Article by
Dominic Tyer

1st July 2016

From: Regulatory

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