NICE confirms advanced breast cancer drug is too expensive for NHS

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 08 August 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5078
  1. Caroline White
  1. 1London

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has rejected trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla), a new drug for treating advanced HER2 positive breast cancer that is no longer responding to treatment, on the grounds that it is not cost effective.

The decision came after draft guidance issued by NICE in April had concluded that the drug’s high price made it impossible to recommend for routine use despite evidence of its clinical effectiveness.1 Trial data have shown that trastuzumab emtansine can prolong life by six months longer than standard treatment.

But this latest confirmation has prompted new accusations that the model NICE uses to calculate value for money is proving too restrictive for new drugs that are clinically effective but expensive, after discussions with the manufacturer, Roche, failed to agree a mutually acceptable price. The drug is estimated …

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