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NICE rejects ovarian cancer maintenance drug

Olaparib tablets are deemed too expensive

Jo Carlowe

Friday, 09 November 2018

Cost-regulators have today rejected an ovarian cancer maintenance drug for routine funding on the NHS. 

In its draft guidance, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) does not recommend olaparib tablet as a maintenance treatment for adults with relapsed, platinum-sensitive ovarian, fallopian tube and peritoneal cancer.

The clinical trial results showed that olaparib (also called Lynparza and made by AstraZeneca), extends the time until the cancer gets worse compared with placebo (around 8.4 months with olaparib and 4.8 months with placebo). This benefit is greater in the BRCA mutation-positive subgroup, for which NICE has already recommended olaparib as a third-line treatment.

However, olaparib was not considered to be cost effective when compared with routine observation and does not meet NICE’s end-of-life criteria.

The list price for olaparib tablets is £4,635 per 28-day cycle.

In 2016, 6,430 people were diagnosed with ovarian cancer in England.

Earlier this year, NICE recommended niraparib for this same indication for use on the Cancer Drugs Fund.

The draft guidance is now open for public consultation until 30 November 2018. 

Final guidance is expected to be published in April 2019.

In a statement, AstraZeneca has said it will continue to 'engage with NICE, NHS England and the Cancer Drugs Fund', in pricing negotiations.

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