NICE rejects Eisai’s breast cancer drug

As reported by The Pharma Letter, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has rejected the Japanese pharmaceutical company, Eisai’s breast cancer drug.

Eisai’s drug, called Halaven (eribulin) was developed to treat locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer in those patients whose cancer has progressed after two regimes of chemotherapy. It was found that the drug would extent patients lives by approximately 2.7 months compared to existing treatments.

NICE have concluded, that although the drug may help patients live a little longer, it does cause many undesirable side effects such as hair loss, fatigue and anaemia. This was explained by CEO, Sir Andrew Dillon,  “Although the evidence presented to the independent advisory committee indicated that eribulin may help some patients live for a little longer, it also caused more undesirable side effects than other treatments already available, and the effects on health-related quality of life had not been adequately assessed.”

He continued: “The advisory committee heard from clinical experts that in current practice, patients at this stage usually receive sequential treatment of vinorelbine, capecitabine and, more rarely, gemcitabine. The experts also stressed that even if eribulin were approved by NICE, it would be unlikely to replace capecitabine and vinorelbine in the established sequential pathway because of its related side effects.”

The Japanese pharma company intends to assess the FAD to determine their grounds to appeal and are keen to ensure that all patients have access to the drug.

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