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NICE U-Turn on Boehringer oncology drug

England’s drug price watchdog now recommends Vargatef for lung cancer after price cut

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After initially rejecting Boehringer Ingelheim's new lung cancer drug Vargatef NICE is now backing the treatment as being cost-effective. 

Following a review by NICE and a deal from Boehringer, new final guidance released this week sees the watchdog now recommending Vargatef (nintedanib).

Specifically, the drug will be paid for, in combination with the chemotherapy agent docetaxel, for patients with locally advanced metastatic or locally recurrent non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) of adenocarcinoma histology.

The treatment had been deemed too expensive for NICE during its earlier appraisal in December last year, given that it costs £2,151 for a 30-day pack of pills. 

But Boehringer submitted new analyses of clinical trial data and, perhaps more importantly, a confidential patient access scheme, which lowers the overall cost of the treatment to the NHS.

Dr Mehdi Shahidi, medical head of solid tumour oncology at Boehringer, said: “We are delighted with this announcement from NICE which represents an important milestone in the effort to extend survival for patients with adenocarcinoma of the lung following initial treatment with chemotherapy. The survival advantage demonstrated by Vargatef in combination with docetaxel, has been shown with a predictable and generally manageable safety profile.”

Nintedanib has also shown potential outside of cancer, recently being recommended for EU approval as a treatment for the rare lung condition idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). 

The drug also received US approval in this indication in October under the name Ofev. It has yet to receive a final appraisal from NICE in this condition. 

There are a number of NICE-approved medicines for NSCLC, including AstraZeneca's Iressa (gefitinib) and Roche's Tarceva (erlotinib), which are both targeted EGFR mutation positive treatments. 

Article by
Ben Adams

4th June 2015

From: Healthcare

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