Eisai gets longer to argue Cancer Drugs Fund ruling

Eisai’s breast cancer treatment Halaven will remain on the Cancer Drugs Fund after the firm’s appeal was granted.

In January, the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) announced that Halaven (eribulin) would be one of 16 drugs across 25 indications to be ‘de-listed’ from tomorrow, 12 March.

But Eisai’s appeal against the ruling means that Halaven will now stay on the CDF until an as-yet unconfirmed date ‘pending the result of reconsideration.’

When the decision was first announced, Gary Hendler, president & chief executive of Eisai EMEA and head of the firm’s global oncology business, had attacked the decision in the strongest terms.

“To say that we are disappointed by this decision would be a gross understatement; we are outraged.”

The company had threatened legal action in order to stop the de-listing, but now looks likely to be given a chance to discuss its clinical data before a final decision is made.

The CDF de-listing process involved the removal of drugs which were deemed either to provide insufficient extra clinical benefits for patients, or for those drugs considered too expensive. Halaven was deemed to offer insufficient benefit, and as such Eisai didn’t have the opportunity to offer a price discount.

Eisai says the drug remains the only single agent chemotherapy to significantly improve overall survival in women with advanced breast cancer after anthracycline and taxane treatment. It adds that date Halaven is the sixth most prescribed treatment in the CDF and has been used by more than 2,000 women in England since 2011.

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