Chris West
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Update on NICE appraisal of ibrutinib for CLL

Chris West
Posted by
01 Jun 2016

NICE to move ibrutinib for CLL into the new Cancer Drugs Fund

Following on from our last update on NICE’s appraisal of the CLL drug ibrutinib in March, NICE have today announced that they would like the treatment to be included in the new version of the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF).

Having issued draft guidance in March that did not recommend approving ibrutinib, the announcement today means the drug should be available in the short term via the CDF whilst more data is gathered – this will allow NICE to make a final decision on whether ibrutinib will be available to all NHS patients in England.

We know that ibrutinib is a highly effective medicine.  When we ask clinicians and patients for their views, they agree that it’s a significant step forward in the way CLL can be treated.   We believe patients should have access to the most effective medicines, and we hope that NICE, in discussion with the manufacturer of ibrutinib, will be able to approve it when it makes its final decision.  We don’t know when exactly this will be, but we will keep you up to date here as soon as we know.

The next step is for ibrutinib to be formally moved on to the new CDF.  This will happen once the manufacturer, Janssen, and NICE have agreed a price for this temporary provision.  The new version of the CDF pays for drugs to be provided for a maximum of two years to allow for more clinical data to be gathered. 

There will also discussion between NICE, Janssen and clinical experts on how NICE has assessed ibrutinib so far.  Assessing drugs is a very complicated process – how data is evaluated, which drugs are used as comparators, and what alternative treatments are regarded as effective are just some of the questions that have to be answered.

So whilst we are hopeful that ibrutinib will be admitted into the new CDF, and at least be available in the short term, the long term goal has to be that it will be available for all NHS patients in England.  Only by NICE and industry working together effectively will we be able to ensure that blood cancer patients are able to access the new and effective drugs they need.

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