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Sanofi prostate cancer drug to remain on CDF

Published on 26/05/15 at 03:56pm
Jevtana image

Sanofi has reached an agreement with NHS England to reinstate its prostate cancer drug Jevtana on the Cancer Drugs Fund.

Jevtana (cabazitaxel) was originally placed on the CDF after being rejected by NICE for safety and cost concerns, but was one of the many treatments dropped from the list in December 2014.

Sanofi openly complained about the decision, but later said they had ‘made an offer’ to NHS England in an attempt to re-list the drug while it is resubmitted to NICE. This offer now appears to have been accepted.

“We are very pleased that we have come to an agreement with NHS England to find a solution to enable access to cabazitaxel in England,” says Tarja Stenvall, general manager for Sanofi in the UK and Ireland.

“However, this is an interim measure until the outcome of the NICE re-appraisal which, if positive, will ensure access in the longer term.”

The French firm is expecting a decision from NICE in 2016, and has submitted a patient access scheme as part of the re-appraisal. It also plans to re-submit the drug to the Scottish Medicines Consortium this year.

In its original ruling, NICE said that although the drug has been shown to increase overall survival by more than three months, this is not enough to justify its price of £22,200 per patient for six rounds of treatment, especially when the chemotherapy agents available for this setting – including mitoxantrone, 5FU, and carboplatin – are all much cheaper.

NICE also noted that the drug comes with a high risk of side effects, including anaemia, leukopenia, neutropenia, and thrombocytopenia and gastrointestinal events such as diarrhoea.

Sanofi says that Jevtana is the only active treatment for advanced prostate cancer which is not responsive to any available hormone therapies following docetaxel chemotherapy.

It is not the only drug to get a second chance on the CDF. Last week Bayer won its appeal to keep its stomach tumour drug Stivarga (regorafenib) on the list, although Eisai’s breast cancer medicine Halaven (eribulin) and Lilly’s lung cancer treatment Alimta (pemetrexed) lost similar appeals at the same time.

George Underwood

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