UK's NICE Rejects GSK Breast Cancer Treatment

Oct 21, 2009
By Pharmaceutical Executive

GlaxoSmithkline's Tyverb — in combination with capecitabine for the treatment of an aggressive form of advanced breast cancer — has been rejected by the UK's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

In rejecting the treatment for ErbB2-positive, NICE acknowledged that lapatinib met its end-of-life (EOL) criteria — offering a significant extension to life — but felt the drug was not a cost-effective use of National Health Service resources.

"NICE developed additional criteria specifically to help secure greater patient access to new treatments that offer precious extra time at the end of life. It is disappointing that, despite acknowledging Tyverb meets these criteria and GSK offering to bear the cost of lapatinib for up to 12 weeks, NICE is still proposing to reject lapatinib," commented Simon Jose, General Manager of GSK UK. He added: "We will continue to offer our patient access programme to individual NHS Trusts to ensure patients have access to Tyverb."  

GSK reports that the NICE decision on the treatment will affect 2,000 women a year in the UK. By comparison, lapatinib is funded in 18 other European countries for the treatment of women whose advanced breast cancer has returned despite treatment with standard chemotherapy regimes.