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Keytruda rejected for NHS use for bladder cancer, will be removed from the Cancer Drugs Fund

Published on 12/03/20 at 12:02pm

MSD’s blockbuster immunotherapy Keytruda (pembrolizumab) has been knocked back by NICE for use on the NHS as a treatment for locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma in patients who have previously undergone platinum-containing chemotherapy.

Data harvested during the drug’s availability via the Cancer Drugs Fund and submitted in support of the application could not adequately address the institute’s concerns over its long-term benefit.  

Without certainty regarding this benefit, NICE could not judge the therapy to be a cost-effective use of NHS resources at the price currently offered. The drug costs £2,630 per 100mg vial, but even when this price is discounted it could not be considered within the NHS’ ability to pay.  

As a result of this ruling and with the publishing of final guidance, NICE confirmed that Keytruda will no longer be available to new patients via the Cancer Drugs Fund. Patients already receiving the drug will continue to be able to access it however.

Urothelial carcinoma is the most common form of bladder cancer, accounting for 90% of cases.

Matt Fellows

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