NICE backs five new treatments, including Novartis' Zykadia, Mekinist

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence on Wednesday recommended NHS reimbursement of five new treatments, including drugs for lung cancer, melanoma, high cholesterol and hidradenitis. The therapies approved for funding by the agency include Novartis' non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treatment Zykadia (ceritinib), as well as the company's Mekinist (trametinib) in combination with Tafinlar (dabrafenib) for use in certain patients with melanoma. NICE noted that the Swiss drugmaker agreed to discounts on the list prices of the drugs for both indications. 

Zykadia was authorised by European regulators in May last year for the treatment of adults with ALK-positive advanced NSCLC. NICE previously declined to approve reimbursement for the drug, but subsequently relented after Novartis agreed to an undisclosed discount on its 4923-pound ($7220) price for a 30-day supply. "The Department of Health considered that this patient access scheme would not constitute an excessive administrative burden on the NHS," NICE commented. 

Meanwhile, the combination of Mekinist and Tafinlar was cleared in Europe in September 2015 for the treatment of adults with unresectable or metastatic melanoma with a BRAF V600 mutation. The combination regimen is normally priced at 10 080 pounds ($14 776) for a 28-day supply. 

Additionally, other therapies approved for coverage by NICE included Amgen's cholesterol drug Repatha (evolocumab), Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals' cholesterol treatment Praluent (alirocumab) and AbbVie's Humira (adalimumab) for the treatment of patients with hidradenitis. 

Earlier this month, NICE backed reimbursement for the combination of Bristol-Myers Squibb's Opdivo (nivolumab) and Yervoy (ipilimumab) for use in patients with melanoma. Conversely, the agency declined to recommend Vertex Pharmaceuticals' cystic fibrosis treatment Orkambi (lumacaftor/ivacaftor), due to cost, while the agency rejected Roche's Cotellic (cobimetinib) in combination with Zelboraf (vemurafenib) for the treatment of certain adults with unresectable or metastatic melanoma on the grounds of cost-effectiveness. 

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