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NICE recommends AstraZeneca’s Lynparza after price reduction

Published on 11/12/15 at 09:49am
Lynparza is the first cancer drug targeted to an inherited genetic fault to be available on the NHS

NICE has recommended AstraZeneca’s Lynparza for maintenance treatment of relapsed ovarian, fallopian tube and peritoneal cancer.

In draft guidance the UK healthcare watchdog recommends Lynparza (olaparib) for cancers in people who have tested positive for the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, whose disease has responded to platinum-based chemotherapy. 

NICE had previously rejected the drug for this indication in preliminary guidance in June. It asked AZ to provide additional information on Lynparza’s cost-effectiveness, due to the fact that patient survival was already in excess of two years on conventional treatment. The regulator specifically requested information on the subgroup of patients with relapsed disease who have had three or more courses of platinum-based chemotherapy.  

The analysis supplied by the company included both a patient access scheme in which the company meets the cost of the drug for people who remain on treatment after 15 months and a proposed reduction to the list price, which allowed the draft guidance to move from potentially not recommending the drug to instead saying that Lynparza should be available for this particular group of people. 

A condition of the recommendation is that AstraZeneca offers a reduction to the list price of £3950 per 28 days, and meets the cost of treatment for patients who remain on Lynparza after 15 months. 

Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer in women. Epithelial ovarian cancer, which affects the surface layers of the ovary, is the most common type of ovarian cancer, and is similar to fallopian tube and peritoneal cancer.  

AstraZeneca said in a statement that regardless of today’s positive decision for Lynparza, “the UK needs to reform the medicines value assessment framework; increase investment in the latest medicines, and ensure that NICE and the NHS have an increased focus on measuring patient outcomes so that UK patients have access to innovative and much-needed cancer treatments and that the standard of patient care improves.” 

Professor Paul Workman, chief executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, says: “It’s great news that NICE has changed its decision, and made olaparib available for women with BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer. The development of olaparib was underpinned by translational research at the ICR, which was instrumental in developing the innovative concept of targeting BRCA-mutated cancers with drugs of its type. 

“Today it becomes the first cancer drug targeted against an inherited genetic fault ever to be made available on the NHS. Its approval by NICE is a defining moment in the history of targeted cancer treatments, although it is still frustrating that under the terms of the judgement patients cannot benefit until they have had at least three rounds of chemotherapy.”

Joel Levy

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