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NICE backtracks to recommend Roche's Gazyvaro in follicular lymphoma

Published on 12/02/18 at 11:15am

Roche has announced that NICE has issued its final decision to recommend the use of its Gazyvaro (obinutuzumab). The glyco-engineered Type II anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody will now be available on the NHS when used in combination with chemotherapy for the treatment of previously untreated advanced follicular lymphoma (FL) in patients who are at higher risk of relapse, followed by obinutuzumab maintenance.

The decision is a U-turn for the organisation, who rejected the therapy last year on cost-effectiveness grounds. The new judgement makes the treatment available so long as Roche makes it available at a discount, alleviating these cost concerns. The recommendation also made a fundamental disagreement with the drugmaker’s description of its treatment, arguing that “Obinutuzumab is not innovative.”

Around 1,900 people are diagnosed with FL per year in Britain. 1,200 people will benefit from NICE’s decision per year, Roche said.

“Gazyvaro plus chemotherapy being recommended by NICE for previously untreated advanced follicular lymphoma means more patients will have their disease controlled for longer compared to the existing standard of care, rituximab plus chemotherapy,” commented Richard Erwin, General Manager at Roche UK. “Close collaboration between Roche, NHS England and NICE has resulted in NICE recommending Gazyvaro as a cost effective treatment, even when compared to recently introduced biosimilars of rituximab. This is a positive example of how solutions can be reached when all parties show flexibility.”

Matt Fellows

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