UK Approved Novartis 'Afinitor' And 'Xalkori'; Price Cut On Pfizer Cancer Drugs

Breast and lung cancer patients will now have routine access to two life-extending treatments after drug makers agreed to reduce their prices to make them cost-effective.  In a draft published on November 10, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommended Novartis' Afinitor for certain breast cancer patients and Pfizer's Xalkori in lung cancer following the undisclosed "larger" discounts.

What Are These Drugs For And How Do They Work?

Afinitor (Everolimus) by Novartis, is a tablet taken once a day; which stops a protein that regulates the division of tumour cells and growth of blood vessels from working properly, slowing the rate at which the tumour grows and increasing life expectancy by an average of around four-and-a-half months compared with exemestane on its own.

Pfizer's Xalkori (Crizotinib), 'is a prescription medicine used to treat people with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that has spread to other parts of the body and is caused by a defect in either a gene called ALK (anaplastic lymphoma kinase) or a gene called ROS1. It is not known if XALKORI is safe and effective in children.'

Cancer Drugs Effective; Can Possibly Delay Need For Chemotherapy And Cancer Spread

Director of the centre for health technology assessment at NICE, Professor Carole Longson MBE, said: "The committee heard that people with breast cancer would value treatments like everolimus that can be given when limited options exist once their disease becomes resistant to endocrine therapy, and because it may delay the need for chemotherapy and its associated side-effects."

The committee concluded that everolimus with exemestane is effective in delaying the growth and spread of breast cancer and, with the revised patient access scheme, is a cost effective use of NHS resources. We are therefore pleased to recommend everolimus for routine funding for the estimated 1,500 people who are eligible to receive it," Longson added.

Crizotinib was not originally considered cost-effective as there was uncertainty over its overall survival gain and the evidence base was immature.  However, Pfizer was able to provide analyses with the latest clinical evidence as well as a further discount on the price.  NICE already recommends Crizotinib as a first- line option for some lung cancer patients.

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