NICE Rejects Provenge, Says Treatment is Not Cost-Effective

The governing body for public health in the UK, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, has refused to fund Provenge citing a high-price for the benefit the tretament provides. This may not be the best news for Valeant Pharmaceuticals which recently bought the regimen from the bankrupt Dendreon Corp.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has published 2 sets of final guidelines for the National Health Service(NHS), endorsing the use of Pfizer’s Inlyta (axitinib) in kidney cancer but rejecting Dendreon’s Provenge (sipuleucel-T) in prostate cancer.

Inlyta is being recommended as a second-line option for treating adults with advanced renal cell carcinoma after treatment with a first-line tyrosine kinase inhibitor or a cytokine has failed.

The Institute previously concluded that the most plausible cost per QALY (quality-adjusted life year) for the drug after first-line treatment with Pfizer’s tyrosine kinase inhibitor Sutent (sunitinib) would be around halfway between £33,500 and £52,900, and after a cytokine £33,000.

On the downside, Provenge will not be funded on the NHS because the cost regulator has concluded that available evidence shows the price for the drug “is too high for the benefit it may provide”.

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