The National Institute for Heath and Care Excellence has published new guidelines endorsing NHS use of five medicines, widening treatment options for some patients with lung cancer, high cholesterol, melanoma and the skin condition hidradentitis.
Following a previous rejection for the drug, Novartis' targeted therapy Zykadia (ceritinib) has now been given the green light for treating anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) positive non-small-cell lung cancer in adults who have previously had Pfizer's Xalkori (crizotinib).
The drug was not recommended in earlier draft guidance due to some uncertainties in the extent of treatment benefit, but a patient access scheme offered by the firm - under which it is provided at a discounted price to the NHS - helped sweeten the deal.
Both Sanofi's Praluent (alirocumab) and Amgen's Repatha (evolocumab) have been now been recommended for adults with primary hypercholesterolaemia or mixed dyslipidaemia to help reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease.
Both were also initially turned down by the cost watchdog, but, in line with final draft guidelines, use of these drugs has been backed for some people with these conditions whose cholesterol levels are not controlled adequately using other drugs such as statins, or are unable to take/tolerate them.
NICE also recommends Novartis' Mekinist (trametinib) in combination with the firm's Tafinlar (dabrafenib) to treat a type of skin cancer that has spread and can't be surgically removed.
Patients with BRAF V600 mutation positive melanoma receiving the new treatment in two clinical trials survived an average of six months longer than those on other drugs, the Institute noted.
Finally, AbbVie's Humira (adalimumab) has been endorsed for NHS use to treat patients with active moderate to severe hidradenitis (also known as acne inversa or Verneuil's disease), whose disease has not responded to conventional systemic therapy.
The condition affects nearly one million people in the UK, who experience recurrent, painful abscesses and nodules in specific areas of the body including the groin and underarm which are often very uncomfortable, painful and can lead to scarring.