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NICE recommends Roche’s Polivy for B-cell lymphoma

Cost-effectiveness agency approves drug following initial rejection earlier this year

The UK’s National Institute for Health and and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended the use of Roche’s antibody drug conjugate Polivy in combination with Rituxan (rituximab) and bendamustine for the treatment of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL).

According to NICE, around 4,800 people in England have DLBCL, with around 530 of those eligible for the new Polivy (polatuzumab vedotin) combination treatment. It will be made available from today for patients whose cancer has relapsed or not responded to primary treatment, and who are not eligible for stem cell transplant.

Earlier this year, NICE initially rejected the new cancer drug, citing a lack of long-term evidence as the reason for the rejection. NICE said that the cost-effectiveness of the Polivy combination treatment was ‘very uncertain’, meaning it couldn’t recommend the drug for use within NHS England or the Cancer Drugs Fund.

However, Roche has since offered an updated commercial agreement as well as new analyses that address the previous issues over long-term survival. With the updated information, the treatment is now considered a cost-effective use of NHS resources, said NICE.

In a clinical trial of patients with DLBCL, Polivy plus Rituxan/bendamustine produced a 40% complete response rate compared to 18% in the control group. In addition, overall survival increased to 11.8 months compared to 4.7 months, even though the trial was not powered to show  a survival benefit.

“Providing the latest cutting edge treatments for patients through innovative drug deals is just one way the NHS Long Term Plan will transform cancer care across the country, building on the thousands more lives already being saved thanks to improving treatment,” said John Stewart, NHS director of Specialised Commissioning.

“Polivy, in combination with other treatments, is a significant step forward in the treatment of lymphoma, giving patients a greater chance of survival, which is why the NHS has worked closely with NICE to reach a deal that not only benefits patients but also has a fair price for taxpayers,” he added.

The new treatment option is great news for patients and clinicians, considering that the prognosis for relapsed or refractory DLBCL is notoriously poor. Roche’s drug combination is the first to show an overall survival advantage in this treatment setting.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

20th August 2020

From: Regulatory

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