Posted 15 June 2017
By Michael Mezher
Patients in the UK could soon get access to Roche's targeted breast cancer drug Kadcyla (trastuzumab emtansine) through the National Health Service (NHS) as early as next month, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) said on Thursday.
Currently, the UK pays for Kadcyla through its Cancer Drugs Fund, which requires patients to apply for funding to get access.
The announcement comes just six months after NICE issued its second draft guidance rejecting Kadcyla, which lists at around £90,000 in the UK, for being too expensive for routine NHS use. At the time, NICE was considering covering the drug through a patient access program that would involve NHS paying full price for the drug for the first 14 months, with Roche covering the costs of the drug after that.
"The reality is that the price of Kadcyla is currently too high in relation to the benefit it gives for it to be recommended for routine commissioning in the NHS, even taking into account the end-of-life criteria and the patient access scheme," Professor Carole Longson, director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE, said last December.
NICE also rejected Kadcyla for routine NHS use in 2015, noting that Roche wanted to charge NHS more for the drug than it was charging through the Cancer Drugs Fund.
However, in its latest appraisal of Kadcyla, NICE says it backs routine NHS coverage of the drug, in part due to an undisclosed discount from Roche.
The agency also says its analysis of Kadcyla now included a comparison against another Roche drug, Herceptin (trastuzumab) plus capecitabine, which the agency said is a more relevant comparator than Tyverb (lapatinib) plus capecitabine.
"Since we started reassessing the drugs available through the Cancer Drugs Fund, companies have responded positively and shown that they can offer good deals when it comes to pricing. This has meant that we have been able to recommend these drugs for routine funding, which is clearly very good news for both patients and the NHS," Longson said.