GlaxoSmithKline is looking to work closer with regulators to the extent that it has been consulting with healthcare officials around Europe as to which drug candidates should be advanced through the pipeline and more significantly, which ones would be reimbursed.

This interesting approach was revealed following an interview with the Wall Street Journal given by new chief executive Andrew Witty. He noted that healthcare officials from France, Italy and Spain, as well as from the UK, have already attended a meeting in London to examine the drugs GSK is developing.

Mr Witty told the WSJ that the meeting was “an opportunity for us to say, 'look, here's what the development pipeline looks like, here's what these drugs are going to be...which one of these do you think, 'this is exactly where I would prioritise healthcare dollars’?”

The newspaper reports that officials were mostly looking at the treatments GSK is testing in small, intermediate human trials. They gave “some pretty blunt feedback on which drugs to prioritise”, and what sort of data the firm would need to show to make state healthcare systems willing to buy the treatments, Mr Witty said. He told the WSJ that "I'm going to deal with the pharmaceutical realities of the next 10 years, and they're very different from those of the 1990s".

NICE non-plussed with Tyverb
Mr Witty may want to invite back officials from the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence as his comments were followed by the UK agency’s decision has advised against the use of GSK’s oral advanced breast cancer drug Tyverb (lapatinib) on the National Health Service.

NICE has issued a provisional recommendation claiming that the clinical benefits of Tyverb are outweighed by the cost, estimated at over £20,000 per patient per year. The decision is now open to consultation (the closing date for comments is July 28) and a second appraisal committee meeting will be held on September 18.

The NICE recommendation is something of a blow to GSK which has been trying to negotiate a risk-sharing deal with the UK’s Department of Health, whereby the latter would only pay for patients who have benefited significantly from treatment.