Mepact recommended for bone cancer after U-turn


NICE has recommended Takeda’s Mepact (mifamurtide) as a treatment option for osteosarcoma when made available under an agreed patient access scheme in draft guidance.

A similar appraisal last year failed to recommend the drug for bone cancer, but, after clarification from NICE’s Board on how discounting is applied, its Appraisal Committee has now given the treatment the green light.

Sir Andrew Dillon, NICE Chief Executive, says the appraisal has raised “some important methodological issues” but after “careful consideration” the Committee recommended its use.

Evidence supplied by Takeda indicated that Mepact, when added to standard treatment with surgery and chemotherapy, increases the number of patients who are effectively cured of bone cancer.

The clarification from the Board provided guidance on how discount rates can be applied in this circumstance, and, having noted this – and taken all other aspects into account, the Committee concluded the drug “could be accepted as a cost-effective use of NHS resources”.

Yasuhiro Fukutomi, Managing Director of Takeda UK, thanked “all those who have been involved in this long process including those at NICE, the Department of Health, physicians and patient organisations”. He added: “It has taken everyone’s collaboration to lead us to this successful conclusion for osteosarcoma patients today.”

Mepact has demonstrated it can reduce the risk of death from bone cancer in children and young adults by almost a third and is the first advance in the treatment for osteosarcoma for 20 years, the company says.

NICE initially produced final draft guidance in October last year which was unable to provisionally recommend the treatment in combination with post-operative chemotherapy drugs for the treatment of high-grade non-metastatic, surgically treatable bone cancer.