NICE approves BMS skin cancer drug for England and Wales

Hannah Blake

pharmaphorum

The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recommended approval of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s yervoy for the treatment of previously-treated metastatic melanoma, within the Final Appraisal Determination (FAD). This important decision will enable eligible patients in England and Wales to routinely access treatment with yervoy (ipilimumab) through the National Health Services (NHS).

Metastatic melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, with an average life expectancy of just six to nine months. Yervoy is the only approved drug for metastatic melanoma that gives a durable long-term survival benefit at two years for 24 % of patients. In the pivotal clinical trial, which included over four years of follow up, median overall survival for yervoy was 10 months, compared to 6 months for the gp100 control arm.

“Today’s decision is very welcome news and marks a major milestone in the treatment of advanced melanoma. Ipilimumab’s potential to provide a long-term survival benefit in some patients makes it an important treatment option and represents a genuine step change in the management of this disease.”

Dr. Paul Lorigan, Senior Lecturer in Medical Oncology, the Christie NHS Foundation Trust.

Yervoy has already been approved in a number of European countries, including Spain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium and Ireland, to name a few. Bristol-Myers Squibb is continuing to work closely with other European authorities to secure more access to yervoy to address the unmet need.

It has been estimated that yervoy, along with Plexxikon’s newly-approved Zelboraf (vemurafenib), could benefit up to 1,000 patients in the UK each year.

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Related news:

NICE recommends Yervoy for skin cancer (Pharmaceutical Business Review)

Joy as NICE approves two drugs that will ‘transform’ the chances of surviving the most dangerous form of skin cancer (Daily Mail)

Reference links:

Bristol-Myers Squibb press release

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