NICE okays Pfizer blood cancer drug Besponsa after appeal

NICE has changed its mind and recommended regular NHS funding for Pfizer’s Besponsa blood cancer drug, after the manufacturer submitted a new analysis and cut its price.

Besponsa (inotuzumab ozogamicin) is approved for refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, which NICE rejected a year ago in final draft guidance on cost grounds.

The drug is typically used to give patients a life-line, allowing them to go into complete remission and therefore eligible for a curative stem-cell transplant.

Pfizer has appealed the decision, offering an undisclosed price cut and fresh analysis of the drug’s long-term benefits.

As a result of this the cost-effectiveness body has now recommended Besponsa, an antibody-drug conjugate, in updated final draft guidance.

The decision gives a new treatment option for patients with a disease whose prognosis is poor, and for which there are few available alternative therapies.

In a separate decision in June, the Scottish Medicines Consortium also rubber-stamped NHS funding for Besponsa.

As NICE’s decision will likely apply in Wales and Northern Ireland, it is estimated that more than 120 people across the UK are now eligible for treatment.

In a statement Dr Craig Eagle, head of oncology at Pfizer UK, said: “We welcome NICE’s decision and are pleased that leukaemia patients across the country will now have routine access to this potentially transformative treatment option. We are particularly thankful to the clinical and patient group community who also worked tirelessly throughout this process to ensure patients who can benefit from inotuzumab ozogamicin have access to it.”

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