Patients with multiple myeloma are currently unlikely to get ‘routine’ access to Celgene’s Imnovid (pomalidomide) on the National Health Service in England after cost-regulators rejected funding for the drug.

In draft guidelines, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence said it is not recommending third-line use of Imnovid in MM patients because Celgene failed to provide sufficient evidence of its effectiveness compared with current care.

In other words, the drug did not offer “enough benefit to justify its high price”, the Institute said.

The cost per QALY gained presented by the company was over £50,000 compared with Velcade bortezomib, but even higher - at more than £70,000 per QALY - when compared with bendamustine plus thalidomide and dexamethasone, falling outside the range of what is normally considered value for money.

Sir Andrew Dillon, NICE chief executive, noted that, while MM is an incurable disease, recommended treatment options thalidomide, Velcade and Revlimid (lenalidomide) can slow its progress and help relieve symptoms, improving survival and quality of life. But he did say the Institute is “disappointed” not to be able to recommend the drug at this time.

The move follows in the footsteps of NHS Scotland cost watchdog the Scottish Medicines Consortium which said in July that Celgene “did not present a sufficiently robust economic analysis” on its drug.