AstraZeneca has announced plans to appeal the The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) decision to reject its non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) drug, Tagrisso (osimertinib).

The committee didn’t OK the drug as the cost effectiveness estimates were above what NICE normally considers to be an acceptable use of NHS resources. AstraZeneca, however, believes that the treatment would be considered a cost-effective use of the NHS resources if it was granted End of Life status, which is a status given to medicines for patients who have a short life expectancy, typically less than 24 months.

The indication was for untreated locally advances or metastatic epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in adults.

The company’s CEO, Pascal Soriot, said that they are “Very disappointed with this decision and will appeal. The UK has the second worst lung cancer survival outcomes in Europe and patients need new innovative treatments.

“NHS data show that patients in England who would be eligible for our medicine have very low survival rates and therefore Tagrisso should qualify for End of Life consideration to evaluate cost-effectiveness.”

He went further, saying that it’s time for a “Comprehensive review of how NICE values innovative medicines. This is needed to ensure British patients can access the latest medical advances, to support the ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan to improve outcomes for people with cancer, and to help deliver Government’s ambition that the UK continues to be a globally leading center for life sciences.

Sadly in this instance, Tagrisso, A British discovery, will not be available to patients in England when many countries around the world have already decided to reimburse this medicine.”

The UK has the second worst five-year survival rate in Europe, with only Bulgaria having worse outcomes. Lung cancer is the leading cause of death by cancer in the UK and it is the most common type of cancer to spread to the brain.