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Nice backs two cancer drugs from Novartis

Published on 22/06/16 at 08:29am

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has backed two drugs form Novartis (VTX: NOVN) for lung cancer and skin cancer.

The recommendation is part of the final approvals for five drugs to treat four different conditions to be funded by the NHS.

The regulator has backed Novartis’ Zykadia (ceritinib) to treat non-small-cell lung cancer in adults who have previously had crizotinib. Ceritinib is targeted therapy which aims to slow the growth of lung cancer in people who have a specific mutation.

The independent committee that appraised the drug concluded that ceritinib was likely to prolong life in people whose disease had progressed after prior treatment.

In addition, Nice recommended Mekinist (trametinib) in combination with Tafinlar (dabrafenib) to treat a type of skin cancer that has spread and can’t be surgically removed.

Patients with BRAF V600 mutation positive melanoma receiving the new treatment in two clinical trials survived an average of 6 months longer than those on other drugs.

High cholesterol

Nice has also backed Sanofi’s (Euronext: SAN) Praluent (alirocumab) and Amgen’s (Nasdaq: AMGN) Repatha (evolocumab) to treat primary hypercholesterolaemia or mixed dyslipidaemia to help reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease.

The drugs are recommended for people with these conditions whose cholesterol levels are not controlled adequately using other drugs such as statins, or who can’t tolerate statins because of their side effects or have another condition which means they can’t take them.

Both alirocumab and evolocumab are given by self-administered injection once every 2 weeks (once a month for the 420 mg dose of evolocumab).


The regulator has also approved AbbVie’s (NYSE: ABBV) Humira (adalimumab) for patients with active moderate to severe hidradentitis (also known as acne inversa or Verneuil's disease).

The drug is recommended only if the company provides it at the price agreed in the patient access scheme.

A 40‑mg prefilled pen or syringe of adalimumab will be supplied at the discounted price of £284 for the hidradenitis suppurativa indication, compared with the list price of £352.14 (British National Formulary, accessed December 2015).

Anjali Shukla

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