Kidney cancer drug to be funded by NHS after manufacturer cuts price

Carole Longson

Everolimus has been recommended for use in the NHS by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence after its manufacturer, Novartis, cuts its price.

The health technology assessment body’s decision comes in a draft guidance, published on 12 January 2017, which recommends the drug for some patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

Everolimus, which is branded as Afinitor, was originally available through the cancer drugs fund (CDF) but following Novartis’ price discount and consideration of new evidence, NICE has now recommended that it is routinely available on the NHS. The drug will be available through a patient access scheme.

The discount is confidential, but a year’s treatment cost around £32,000 per patient before the discount.

Given as an oral tablet (10mg once a day), the drug is an active inhibitor of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) protein, which is a central regulator of tumour cell division and blood vessel growth in cancer cells.

NICE says treatment should continue as long as there is clinical benefit or until there are unacceptable adverse events, adding that management of severe adverse events may need dose reduction to 5mg daily or temporary withholding of everolimus.

Carole Longson, director of the centre for health technology evaluation at NICE, says: “Advanced renal cell carcinoma is a relatively rare cancer and unfortunately there are limited treatment options for this condition.

“The company engaged positively with the process of reconsidering drugs in the CDF, demonstrated their drug to be cost effective, and as such we were pleased to make a positive recommendation,” she adds. “This decision, when implemented, will allow funding in the CDF to be freed up, which can then be spent on other new and innovative cancer treatments.”

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, January 2017, Vol 298, No 7897;298(7897):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2017.20202186

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