NICE seeks views on draft guidance for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma treatment

Published on Friday, 12 April 2013 10:42
Written by Vicki Mitchem

A treatment for an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is not recommended for NHS use in draft guidance by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

The recommendation, published for public consultation, comes after an independent committee of experts concluded there was insufficient evidence to show that pixantrone (Pixuvri, Cell Therapeutics) is more effective than current NHS treatments and it does not represent good value for money for the health service.

Pixantrone has a conditional licence to treat adults with aggressive non-Hodgkin B-cell lymphoma (NHL) that has either returned after treatment (relapsed) or become resistant to current therapy (refractory) multiple times and who have received at least two previous types of treatment. NICE is developing guidance for the NHS on the use of pixantrone for this specific group of people.

Sir Andrew Dillon, NICE Chief Executive, said: "For NICE to recommend a treatment, it must be shown to work at least as well as currently available NHS treatments taking into consideration any side effects that particular treatment might cause and also its cost to the NHS. Unfortunately in this case, the clinical trial evidence submitted to the Appraisal Committee highlighted a number of uncertainties that called into question the true benefit people might receive from this treatment."

Non-Hodgkin B-cell lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which forms part of the body's immune system, and affects the body's B-cells (white blood cells found in bone marrow). Standard NHS treatment includes the drug rituximab (MabThera) as well as chemotherapy.

Consultees, including the manufacturer, healthcare professionals and members of the public are now able to comment on the preliminary recommendations which are available to view on the NICE website. The consultation is open until Wednesday 1 May 2013 and any comments received will be fully considered by the Committee during the next stage of guidance development.

Until final guidance is issued to the NHS, NHS bodies should make decisions locally on the funding of specific treatments. Once NICE issues its final guidance on a technology, it replaces local recommendations across the country.

Source: NICE

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