NICE plans to say yes to two breakthrough treatments for skin cancer

Published on Friday, 02 November 2012 11:06
Posted by Scott Buckler

NICE, the healthcare guidance body, has issued new final draft guidance recommending two new treatments for advanced malignant melanoma

Ipilimumab (Yervoy, Bristol-Myers Squibb) is recommended for the treatment of advanced malignant melanoma in people who have received prior chemotherapy.Vemurafenib (Zelboraf, Roche) is recommended for the treatment of unresectable locally advanced or metastatic BRAF V600 mutation-positive melanoma.

Both treatments are recommended on the basis that the manufacturers provide them with a discount, as agreed in separate patient access schemes for each appraisal.

Commenting on the final draft guidance, Professor Carole Longson, Health Technology Evaluation Centre Director at NICE said: "Advanced melanoma can significantly affect patients' quality of life and without effective new therapies, the prognosis for advanced disease is very poor. For many years the treatments available for this condition have been very limited and in some cases restricted to palliative care. However, there are now a number of new treatments being developed and vemurafenib and ipilimumab are the first two that NICE has been asked to review.

"These new draft recommendations represent really good news for skin cancer patients. Vemurafenib and ipilimumab are breakthrough treatments that can potentially significantly affect prognosis for these patients and we are very pleased that the manufacturers have worked with us so that we are now able to recommend both ipilimumab and vemurafenib."

Since the publication of the first draft guidance for consultation last year which did not recommend the drug, the manufacturer of ipilimumab, Bristol-Myers Squibb, provided the Committee with additional data and analysis regarding the cost effectiveness of the drug. They also submitted a patient access scheme. This enabled the Committee to recommend the drug as a cost effective use of NHS resources.

The manufacturer of vemurafenib, Roche, also submitted additional analyses on the effectiveness of the drug in relation to its clinical and cost effectiveness following the publication of draft guidance on which the Committee requested further clarification from the manufacturer.

The draft guidance documents are now with consultees, who have the opportunity to appeal against them. Until NICE issues final guidance, NHS bodies should make decisions locally on the funding of specific treatments.

Source: ©NICE

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