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NICE shoots down Bristol-Myers Squibb immunotherapy Opdivo for post-surgery skin cancer

Published on 05/11/20 at 12:38pm

NICE has rejected the routine use of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s immunotherapy Opdivo (nivolumab) on the NHS in England and Wales for the treatment of melanoma in patients post-surgery, it has been announced.

Opdivo has been available in England for the past two years via the Cancer Drugs Fund for adult patients as an adjuvant treatment of completely resected melanoma which is either metastatic or has lymph node involvement.

Data generated from patients accessing it via the Fund, combined with data from clinical trials, was submitted to NICE as part of the appraisal. However, immaturity of the data means that cost-effectiveness uncertainties around the drug’s benefit in overall survival could not be adequately reached; it could not be determined that the drug was an efficient use of NHS resources.

The decision sadly denies access to the estimated 1,480 patients who would have been eligible to receive the drug.

“The data presented to our committee led to a number of uncertainties about the long term benefits of its use, which alongside the pricing of nivolumab, meant they were unable to recommend it for routine commissioning,” remarked Meindert Boysen, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE.

“The decision as it stands will disappoint some people but those already using nivolumab with Stage 3 and 4 melanoma and lymph node involvement, who have had surgery to remove the disease, will not be affected. Their treatment will continue until they and their NHS clinician consider it appropriate to stop.”

Matt Fellows

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