Sanofi’s Jevtana Cancer Drug Rejected by U.K. Cost Agency

Sanofi’s Jevtana drug was rejected by the U.K.’s health-cost agency as a treatment for prostate cancer in patients for whom an older medicine didn’t work.

While Jevtana extends life, it’s also associated with side effects including anemia and diarrhea, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence said in an e-mail announcing the decision. The agency, which advises the U.K.’s National Health Service on medicines, had issued a preliminary decision Sept. 30.

“Once these factors had been taken into account, the independent committee appraising this drug concluded that it would not provide enough health benefit to justify its cost, which means it would not be a cost-effective use of NHS resources,” Andrew Dillon, NICE’s chief executive officer, said in the statement.

The agency will issue final guidance after Paris-based Sanofi, health-care providers and the public have a chance to appeal, according to the statement.

``For men with metastatic, hormone-refractory prostate cancer, Jevtana offers an important new treatment option with significant clinical benefit,'' Sanofi said in an e-mailed statement. ``Sanofi welcomes NICE’s recognition of the significant clinical benefit Jevtana offers patients with mHRPC, but is disappointed that NICE has chosen not to recommend the use of Jevtana on the basis of cost.''

There is ``significant'' need for Jevtana in England, with about 100 patients having been prescribed the drug through the Cancer Drugs Fund, the company said. The fund was set up to give patients access to medicines that the NHS won't pay for.

NICE considered Jevtana when used alongside prednisone or prednisolone, two steroids, in patients whose disease progressed after treatment with docetaxel.

Jevtana typically costs 22,000 pounds ($33,800) per patient, according to the agency.

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