Roche's Avastin Again Fails to Win U.K. Panel Backing in Colorectal Cancer
Roche Holding AG again failed to win the backing of the U.K.’s health-cost panel for use of its Avastin drug in patients with colorectal cancer that has spread.
The medicine isn’t cost-effective for the tumors when used with the chemotherapy drugs oxaliplatin and either 5- fluorouracil or capecitabine, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence said today in a preliminary recommendation. It’s the second time that the agency, known as NICE, has issued such draft guidance on Avastin’s use in colorectal cancer.
Roche had offered to supply Avastin for 20,800 pounds ($32,300) for one patient for a year, and for free after that. The company then proposed also making a payment to the U.K. National Health Service for each patient beginning treatment with Avastin. That proposal is “complex” and doesn’t justify the cost of the drug, also called bevacizumab, NICE said.
“We are disappointed not to be able to recommend bevacizumab,” NICE Chief Executive Officer Andrew Dillon said in the statement. “But we have to be confident that the benefits justify the considerable cost of this drug.”
NICE will make a final recommendation on whether the U.K.’s National Health Service should pay for the medicine after a consultation period running from today until Sept. 15. About 6,500 people each year might be eligible for treatment with Avastin, according to NICE.
“The fact that the U.K. is now virtually the only country in the developed world not to provide Avastin for bowel cancer patients through the state health-care service is further evidence that the current U.K. reimbursement system is not appropriate for end-of-life cancer treatments,’” Roche said in an e-mailed statement.
Avastin was Roche’s top-selling drug during the second quarter, generating sales of 1.73 billion Swiss francs ($1.67 billion). The medicine is approved for several cancer types, including colorectal, lung and breast malignancies.
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