NICE reverses opinion on cancer drugs

 NICE has reversed its opinion on the use of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Yervoy (ipilimumab) and Roche’s Zelboraf (vemurafenib) for the treatment of advanced malignant melanoma.

The new final draft guidance recommends the use of Yervoy in people who have received prior chemotherapy.

Zelboraf is also recommended for the treatment of unresectable locally advanced or metastatic BRAF V600 mutation-positive melanoma.

The U-turn came after both manufacturers agreed to supply the treatments at a discounted rate under the terms of separate patient access schemes with the Department of Health.

Professor Carole Longson, Health Technology Evaluation Centre Director at NICE, said the updated guidance was “really good news” for patients with skin cancer.

“Vemurafenib and ipilimumab are breakthrough treatments that can potentially significantly affect prognosis for these patients and we are very pleased that the manufacturers have worked with us so that we are now able to recommend both ipilimumab and vemurafenib,” said Professor Longson.

Since the publication of the first draft guidance, which NICE failed to recommend the use Yervoy due to its £80,000 price tag, BMS provided additional data and analysis surrounding the cost-effectiveness of the drug.

Roche also supplied additional analysis on the effectiveness of the drug in relation to its clinical and cost effectiveness.