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AstraZeneca’s wins major drug approval by NICE

Published on 04/10/16 at 04:18pm

AstraZeneca’s Tagrisso (osimertinib) has successfully received endorsement of Britain’s Cancer Drugs Fund that has a reserve of £340 million to fund drugs deemed cost efficient and with evidence of positive results from clinical trials. Tagrisso is the first drug to be approved by the NHS through the newly reformed fund. To achieve this back, AstraZeneca had to demonstrate to the fund, through clinical evidence, that the drug was particularly effective and to provide a discount on the list price for the drug.

Commenting on the process to approval, Lisa Anson, president at AstraZeneca, commented that “The new process is getting drugs to patients much faster…It’s one of the fastest development programs that’s ever been seen in pharmaceuticals for three years. We want, and the NHS wants, to get this drug to the patients, and put in place this interim funding to support it.”

Lung cancer is the world’s most deadly tumour, with only one in 10 cancer patients in the UK surviving five years or more after diagnosis. There is therefore high demand for a drug that can extend lifespan with individuals who don’t respond to conventional treatments like radiation and chemotherapy. Tagrisso will be available to 3-5% of patients who are affected by a genetic mutation known as T790M, which the drug particularly targets. Around 300 patients will be able to begin treatment with the drug immediately.

The funding for Tagrisso is currently only a temporary funding and AstraZeneca will have to return for further discussions with NICE in 2018 in regards to Tagrisso being available as routine treatment on the NHS.

Ben Hargreaves

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