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NICE does not recommend cancer drug combination to the NHS

Published on 13/02/20 at 09:37am

NICE has published draft guidance that does not recommend a new drug combination to combat untreated advanced renal cell carcinoma in adults (RCC).

The evidence from treating kidney cancer patients with pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and axitinib (Inlyta) showed promise, but NICE were concerned about its long-term benefit. Its clinical and cost-effectiveness estimates were also above what NICE would normally consider as an acceptable use of NHS resources. 

The list prices of pembrolizumab and axitinib are £2639 per vial and £3517 for 56 tablets. The companies have confidential commercial arrangements which could have made these drugs available to the NHS with a discount.

Pembrolizumab is given intravenously every 3 weeks and axitinib is taken orally twice a day.  Currently, kidney cancer is diagnosed in 12,900 people each year in the UK with the most common being RCC. This particular strand of the disease accounts for 80% of all kidney cancer cases and 3% of all cancer cases in Britain.

Conor Kavanagh


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