The list of drugs to be cut from the Cancer Drugs Fund has yet to be confirmed but drugmakers and doctors have already gone public with their criticisms.
It has been reported that six breast cancer drugs are among the treatments to be banned and Eisai has come out most vociferously in its condemnation of the move to pull Halaven (eribulin). The firm described its “extreme disappointment” at the CDF decision, which put “a flawed and inconsistent methodological process before the overall survival benefit for people living with terminal cancer”.
Eisai added that the news is “particularly devastating for the thousands of women living with secondary breast cancer in the UK who could benefit from this innovative life-extending treatment”.
Doctors lined up to voice their anger with Vivek Misra at The Christie in Manchester noting that access to the CDF has ensured that drugs like eribulin “have become the standard of care for women with metastatic breast cancer in England. This evaluation now means that these women can no longer be treated with the drugs thousands before them have benefited from”.
Chris Twelves at the University of Leeds who presented the benefits of Halaven to the CDF panel, said the decision “implies that doctors have spent years prescribing ineffective treatments to patients, at an obvious cost to the NHS. I do not believe this is the case”.
The company itself is fuming. Gary Hendler, head of Eisai EMEA, said that “to say that we are disappointed by this decision would be a gross understatement; we are outraged”. He added that “we would like to ask the Prime Minister for a pause in the process and now call on the Government to stop arbitrarily de-listing these drugs”.
Eisai also warned that the decision may ultimately mean it is forced to scale back operations in the UK, weeks after it opened a new multi-million pound manufacturing plant for a new cancer treatment in Hatfield.
Other companies likely to be affected by the delisting include Roche, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi and Novartis. Come back to PharmaTimes for their responses during the day.