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NICE backs leukaemia drug after manufacturer drops price

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e2274 (Published 22 March 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2274
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has recommended nilotinib (Tasigna) for the firstline treatment of chronic myeloid leukaemia after the manufacturer agreed to reduce the price for the NHS.

In final draft guidance NICE also reaffirmed the use of imatinib (Glivec) for firstline treatment of the rare condition that affects around 560 people in the UK each year. Both drugs are made by Novartis.

A third drug, dasatinib (Sprycel), made by Bristol-Myers Squibb, was not recommended by NICE. Patients currently receiving dasatinib, however, should be able to continue treatment until they and their doctor consider it appropriate to stop.

The cost of nilotinib treatment is £31 715 (€38 100; $50 100) per year, assuming a treatment regimen of 300 mg twice a day. Novartis has agreed a patient access scheme with the Department of Health, however, which makes nilotinib available at a discounted price. The size of the discount is confidential. …

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