NICE U-turn on Sanofi’s prostate cancer therapy

Sanofi has gained a positive recommendation for cabazitaxel from NICE after increasing the discount and taking steps to reduce waste.

NICE has issued final guidance recommending cabazitaxel (marketed as Jevtana by Sanofi) for some prostate cancer patients, in a change from the appraisal committee’s draft guidance.

The committee previously did not recommend cabazitaxel because of concerns about its cost-effectiveness compared with standard treatments such as abiraterone, enzalutamide or radium-223 dichloride.

Sanofi increased the discount in response to the draft guidance. The company also committed to reducing waste by confirming that it can supply cabazitaxel in intravenous bags instead of vials. These actions led to NICE’s new positive recommendation and cabazitaxel is now judged a cost-effective treatment option.

Between 2013 and 2015, over 550 patients accessed cabazitaxel (as a second-line treatment after docetaxel chemotherapy) through the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF). Cabazitaxel will now move into routine use and out of the CDF. The number of patients receiving the treatment is not anticipated to change as a result of the move.

Professor Carole Longson, Director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE said: “I am very pleased that this improved discount for cabazitaxel means we are now able to recommend it. This is an excellent example of how pharma companies can work with us to ensure that patients have access to all of their treatment options.”

One a treatment receives a positive recommendation from NICE, the NHS is legally obliged to begin funding it within three months of the final publication date.