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NICE knocks back MSD's Keytruda for lung cancer indication

Published on 28/02/17 at 03:39pm

MSD’s immunotherapy drug Keytruda (pembrolizumab) has been knocked back by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for the treatment of untreated PD-L1-positive metastatic lung cancer.

NICE’s decision was spurred by the “immaturity of the data” provided by MSD, which made it impossible to accurately determine Keytruda’s overall survival benefits compared to current standard of care.

The institute ultimately determined that this lack of concrete supporting evidence meant that the cost-effectiveness estimate for the drug, which costs £2,630 for a 100mg vial, did not fall within its acceptable range, and as such will not be made available on the NHS.

The news comes as an unexpected misstep for the company after its immunotherapy drug scored a string of approval successes over the past few months, including in the indication of first-line treatment for metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in adults whose tumours have high PD-L1 expression in the EU.  

The decision is open for public consultation until 21 March.

Matt Fellows

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