Two drugs for the treatment of some patients with leukaemia or lung cancer are to be routinely available on the NHS following a recommendation from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
The move follows a NICE reappraisal of the products — which have previously only been available to patients via the cancer drugs fund (CDF) — and the promise of an NHS discount by the drugs’ manufacturers.
The cut price means that the drugs, which had originally been rejected by NICE because they were not cost effective, can now be offered routinely on the NHS.
Bosutinib is marketed by Pfizer as Bosulif with an annual full price (undiscounted) per patient of £45,000. It is indicated for patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia who have the Philadelphia chromosome. It will only be available when other treatments have failed or are inappropriate.
NICE has also approved pemetrexed — marketed by Eli Lilly as Alimat — with an annual full price of £11,500 per patient.
Pemetrexed is now an option as a maintenance treatment for adult patients with locally advanced or metastatic non-squamous non-small-cell lung cancer when the disease has not progressed immediately after four cycles of pemetrexed and cisplatin induction therapy, and when their Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status is 0 or 1 at the start of maintenance treatment.
Carole Longson, director of the centre for health technology evaluation at NICE, says it is “great to see that companies are engaging with our CDF reconsideration process in a constructive way”. Freeing these drugs from the fund creates space for other innovative cancer products, she says.