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NICE rejects Tyverb despite price offer

Published on 05/03/09 at 12:00pm

NICE has rejected GSK's breast cancer drug Tyverb, despite an offer from the company to cut the cost of treatment.

The decision confirms NICE's preliminary decision last July that the drug is not cost-effective in treating advanced or metastatic breast cancer.

GSK had hoped its patient access scheme - in which the drug would be free to patients in the first 12 weeks of treatment - would mean the decision was reversed.

But NICE has concluded that Tyverb (lapatinib) is not cost effective when compared with current standard treatment, Roche's Xeloda (capecitabine).

GSK's patient access scheme lowered the cost for the NHS, and translated into a lower cost per quality adjusted life year (QALY), dropping from £94,000 to £70,000. But this was still judged to be too high to represent cost effectiveness.

Simon Jose, general manager GSK UK, said: "We disagree with the NICE decision and believe Tyverb is a valuable and important treatment for eligible women. "

Tyverb is indicated in combination with Xeloda for advanced or metastatic breast cancer, whose tumours over-express HER2.

To be eligible, patients must have progressive disease following prior therapy that has included treatment with Herceptin (trastuzumab).

Tyverb was assessed for cost-effectiveness in comparison with both the current standard treatment of Xeloda and Herceptin.

NICE's final guidance is expected to be issued to the NHS in April. GSK says it is considering appealing against the decision, but Simon Jose hinted the company was open to further negotiation.

He said: "It is difficult to comment without the appearance of self interest. However, there is clearly more work to be done by all parties when flexible access programmes from industry and the recent changes by NICE for patients with a short life expectancy still fail to give them access to valuable medicines."

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