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NICE rejection of three ovarian cancer drugs stands

Agency will still not recommend Gemzar, Hycamtin and Yondelis for the disease

NICE will not budge on its rejection of three ovarian cancer medicines but will continue to recommend other treatments in final draft guidance issued this week.

The agency undertook a formal review of its recent decisions on five treatments for the disease to “ensure the NHS continues to offer the most cost-effective medicines to women”, although it had been under pressure by patients groups and pharma companies to re-assess its processes.

NICE has over the past three years rejected three medicines for the disease: Lilly's Gemzar (gemcitabine), GlaxoSmithKline's Hycamtin (topotecan), both of which are also available as generics, and PharmaMar's Yondelis (trabectedin).

Under its review the body went over the evidence for these medicines again, but still found the three drugs provided less benefit to patients than other options when the disease recurs for the first time at least six months after first-line platinum-based chemotherapy.

In final draft guidance NICE does not, therefore, recommend them at this stage of the disease and its Appraisal Committee did not make any recommendations on using these drugs for treating ovarian cancer at later stages, “because there was no evidence on which to base an estimate of clinical and cost effectiveness”.

Paclitaxel and Janssen's Caelyx backed

However, NICE was happy to continue to recommend two other medicines for ovarian cancer, namely: the generic chemotherapy regimen paclitaxel and Janssen's Caelyx (pegylated liposomal doxorubicin hydrochloride (PLDH)).

Specifically, NICE recommends paclitaxel in combination with a platinum regimen or as monotherapy, within its marketing authorisation, as an option for treating recurrent ovarian cancer.

PLDH is recommended as a monotherapy, again within its marketing authorisation, as an option for treating recurrent ovarian cancer. It is also recommended in combination with platinum as an option for treating recurrent ovarian cancer.

Sir Andrew Dillon, NICE chief executive, said: “These recommendations have been developed according to the best available evidence from the manufacturers, an independent assessment group, health professionals and patient organisations.

“The manufacturers and other organisations who are registered stakeholders for this appraisal can appeal against any of these recommendations, but only if they believe NICE has either acted unfairly or exceeded its powers. Otherwise, this draft guidance will proceed to publication next year.”

Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer among women in the UK. In 2011, 6,356 women in England and Wales were diagnosed with the disease and only around one-third (35%) of adults diagnosed with the disease in England and Wales are predicted to survive for at least 10 years.

Article by
Ben Adams

24th December 2014

From: Sales

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