NICE Writes Guide for Cancer Drugs


"The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has today (27 October) published three separate pieces of guidance for the NHS on the use of the cancer drugs ofatumumab (Arzerra, GlaxoSmithKline), temsirolimus (Torisel, Pfizer) and bendamustine (Treanda, Napp Pharmaceuticals).

The new NHS guidance for ofatumumab does not recommend the drug as a treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia that is refractory (does not respond) to the drugs fludarabine and alemtuzumab, because the benefit it offers over and above current NHS treatments does not justify its cost.

NICE has also published advice on the use of temsirolimus for the treatment of mantle cell lymphoma. This follows the termination of the appraisal because the manufacturer did not submit any evidence of the drug's effectiveness. This means that NICE cannot evaluate whether temsirolimus is useful for this type of lymphoma and, as a result, is unable to recommend the drug.

NICE is also unable to recommend bendamustine for use in the NHS for the treatment of low grade non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that is refractory to rituximab or a rituximab-containing regimen. Again, this is because the manufacturer did not submit any evidence and the appraisal has now been terminated. "

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