Some patients with kidney cancer should soon be able to get easier access to Novartis' Afinitor on the NHS, after cost regulators backed moving the drug out of the Cancer Drug's Fund and into the routine care pathway.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published new draft guidelines recommending Afinitor (everolimus) as an option for treating advanced renal cell carcinoma that has progressed during or after treatment with vascular endothelial growth factor targeted therapy.
The Institute originally published guidance rejecting the drug in this setting back in April 2011, but it was subsequently made available in the CDF.
During a reappraisal of Afinitor - part of a wider programme NICE is undertaking to assess the cost-effectiveness of medicines currently available through the CDF - Novartis offered a further discount on the drug's cost of £32,076 per patient, which helped secure its routine use.
"Advanced renal cell carcinoma is a relatively rare cancer and unfortunately there are limited treatment options for this condition," said Professor Carole Longson, director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE.
"The company engaged positively with the process of reconsidering drugs in the CDF, demonstrated their drug to be cost effective, and as such we were pleased to make a positive recommendation. This decision, when implemented, will allow funding in the CDF to be freed up, which can then be spent on other new and innovative cancer treatments."