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Pfizer's Ibrance combo authorised via the Cancer Drugs Fund for advanced breast cancer

Published on 15/01/20 at 11:42am

NICE, the drug watchdog for England and Wales, has given its approval for Pfizer’s Ibrance (palbociclib) in combination with AstraZeneca’s Faslodex (fulvestrant) to be made available via the Cancer Drugs Fund as a treatment for advanced breast cancer.

Specifically, the ruling relates to patients whose tumours are hormone receptor-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative, and who have already received endocrine therapy.

The decision was made on the basis that adding Faslodex to Ibrance was demonstrated to improve progression-free survival. However, data on overall survival was not mature enough to provide concrete benefit. As a result, cost-effectiveness estimates were still “uncertain” for full use on the NHS.

“The committee heard that treatments that can delay the need for chemotherapy, improve quality of life and extend how long people live in better health are important and would be welcomed. Palbociclib provides people with an alternative where NICE has already recommended two other drugs,” commented Meindert Boysen, Director of the NICE Centre for Health Technology Evaluation. “We are pleased therefore that the company has agreed a managed access agreement that will allow palbociclib to be made available within the Cancer Drugs Fund as a further treatment option for people with this type of breast cancer.” 

Blake Dark, NHS Commercial Medicines Director, also remarked: “This targeted treatment has the potential to make a real difference to the quality of life for people with breast cancer, not only extending survival, but significantly delaying the need for chemotherapy. The NHS worked closely with the manufacturer of the treatment, Pfizer, to reach an agreement meaning that it will be available to patients immediately while further evidence is to be collected.”

It’s estimated that around 3,300 could benefit for this new availability of the combo therapy, in whom “exemestane plus everolimus would be the most appropriate alternative to a CDK 4/6 inhibitor”.

Matt Fellows

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