NICE backs drugs for lymphoma and lung cancer from Roche and Pfizer


NICE has recommended NHS funding for a duo of cancer drugs, giving final guidance on new options for certain patients with follicular lymphoma and lung cancer. 

For follicular lymphoma NICE has recommended Roche’s Gazyvaro (obinutuzumab) in combination with bendamustine chemotherapy. 

The cost-effectiveness body has also recommended Pfizer’s Lorviqua (lorlatinib) for anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive advanced non-small cell lung cancer in guidance applying to England and Wales. 

Follicular lymphoma is the most common type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, for which there is currently no cure. 

Gazyvaro had been available in England thanks to interim reimbursement from the Cancer Drugs Fund, but the drug can now be available through usual funding arrangements. 

NICE said that evidence gathered during the drug’s time on the CDF was limited, but supported the clinical trial data. 

In a deal struck with Roche in 2017, NICE had given Gazyvaro four years to prove itself as treatment as new data emerged from ongoing clinical trials. 

The drug will now be available to around 500 patients who have not responded to rituximab, after Roche agreed a confidential discount from the list of price of £3,312 per 1,000mg vial. 

NICE has also recommended NHS funding for Pfizer’s Lorviqua (lorlatinib) in final guidance, after initially giving the thumbs-down in February in an earlier draft. 

Lorviqua will be available for ALK-positive NSCLC patients whose disease has progressed after treatment with Roche’s Alecensa (alectinib) or Novartis’ Zykadia (ceritinib). 

NICE had a rethink after Pfizer proposed a lower price following a consultation on the first draft guidance, and now considers it to be cost-effective. 

According to clinical trial evidence, NICE estimated that around 291 patients could be eligible for the once-daily oral medicine.  

Cancers of this type and stage are usually treated with platinum doublet chemotherapy, or a cocktail of Roche’s Tecentriq (atezolizumab), Avastin (bevacizumab) added to double platinum chemo. 

There were no direct comparisons with these options, but NICE said indirect analyses suggest that people taking Lorviqua have longer progression-free survival compared with either of those options.