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NICE recommends Keytruda for advanced skin cancer

Second recommendation for drug in a week

NICE has recommended Merck & Co's Keytruda for the treatment of advanced skin cancer in final draft guidance.

The recommendation is for the use of Keytruda (pembrolizumab) for patients who have not been treated with Bristol-Myers Squibb's Yervoy (ipilimumab).

The move comes hot on the heels of NICE's recommendation earlier this week of Keytruda for patients whose disease had progressed after treatment with Yervoy.

Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive at NICE, said: “The incidence of malignant melanoma has increased fivefold since the mid 1970s in the UK, with around 37 new cases diagnosed every day.

“We are, therefore, pleased to be able to recommend pembrolizumab as an option for some people with the disease that has not been previously treated with ipilimumab, in final draft guidance. I am sure this will be welcome news to patients and healthcare providers.”

The independent appraisal committee concluded that the most plausible incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) for Keytruda compared with best supportive care was likely to be less than £50,000 per quality-adjusted life year.

This is so long as Merck continues to provide the drug at the discount agreed in the Patient Access Scheme.

The exact ICERs however remain confidential and were not disclosed.

The recommendation from NICE also comes just after Keytruda outperformed Yervoy in a head to head trial for advanced melanoma. Competition in the skin cancer market is now heating up, as Merck will also look to catch Bristol-Myers Squibb's other blockbuster Opdivo (nivolumab), which is forecast to reach peak sales in the range of $5bn to $7.3bn.

According to analysts the market value for these drugs as a whole is set to exceed $15bn covering numerous different cancer indications.  

Article by
Nikhil Patel

9th October 2015

From: Regulatory



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