Pfizer’s Vizimpro (dacomitinib) has been recommended as a first-line treatment option for people with locally advanced or metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Per the new National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance, the once-a-day pill will be available on the NHS for adults who have tested positive for the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation.

This is a change from the committee’s initial decision which found the tyrosine kinase inhibitor to not be a cost-effective use of NHS resources.

In clinical trials the treatment achieved overall survival rates of 34.1 months compared with 26.8 months, compared to patients who took AstraZeneca’s Irissa (gefitinib), which is already recommended by NICE.

It was also found to increase the length of time before the disease worsened - 14.7 months compared with 9.2 months for Irissa.

It was however noted that Vizimpro had a higher incidence of side effects than the AZ drug, so a lower dose may be needed.

Meindert Boysen, director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE, said that the committee “Acknowledged that dacomitinib had the potential to extend life for people with this type of lung cancer more than existing treatments currently available on the NHS.

"Responsible pricing by the company has allowed our committee to reconsider their initial decision. This has led to the positive recommendation announced today, allowing patients to benefit from this innovative treatment on the NHS.”

Separately, NICE has also published guidance that does not recommend AZ’ Tagrisso (osimertinib) in the same patient population, because the cost effectiveness estimates were above what NICE normally considers to be an acceptable use of NHS resources.

The list price of Vizimpro is £2,703 per pack of 30 capsules, but the company has a commercial arrangement which makes it available to the NHS with a confidential discount.