NICE Rejects 3 New Cancer Drugs


The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has confirmed that three treatments – Roche’s Avastin, Merck KgAa’s Erbitux and Amgen’s Vectibix – are all not cost effective in treating metastatic colorectal cancer.

The Institute concluded the high cost of the drugs could not be justified because none of the companies presented convincing data to show that they significantly extended the lives of patients with the disease.

NICE’s chief executive Andrew Dillon stated, “We have already recommended six treatments for various stages of colorectal cancer and are disappointed not to be able to recommend cetuximab (Erbitux), bevacizumab (Avastin) and panitumumab (Vectibix) for this stage, but we have to be confident that the benefits justify the cost of the drugs.”

The draft guidance is open to public consultation until Wednesday and the companies concerned can also submit further comment on the committee’s interpretation of their products’ clinical effectiveness or indeed consider reducing their prices.

Around 20–55% of people with colorectal cancer already have metastatic disease by the time they are diagnosed, by which time their prognosis is bleak.
NICE’s continued rejection of drugs to treat metastatic colorectal cancer has meant demand for them through England’s new Cancer Drugs Fund is high, with regional committees funding treatment for many patients despite NICE’s ruling.

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