Cost regulators for NHS treatments in England and Wales have now recommended funding for Roche’s Gazyvaro for some patients with untreated follicular lymphoma, after the submission of new data by the company.

Initially, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s appraisal committee calculated the cost effectiveness of Gazyvaro (obinutuzumab) within its licensed indication to be “much higher than £30,000 per quality-adjusted life year gained” and thus too expensive for NHS use.

However, Roche subsequently submitted a revised economic analysis focusing on just those patients who are deemed higher risk, as measured by the scoring system known as FLIPI (Follicular Lymphoma International Prognostic Index).

This enabled the Committee to recommended Gazyvaro as an option for untreated advanced follicular lymphoma in adults if the person has a FLIPI score of two or more, and Roche provides the drug with the discount agreed in the patient access scheme.

“This is good news for all people with follicular lymphoma and their families,” said Dr Alasdair Rankin, director of research at the blood cancer research charity Bloodwise.

“Around 2,000 people will be diagnosed with follicular lymphoma each year in the UK. While not everyone will need to start treatment immediately, the knowledge that doctors will have the most effective and appropriate treatment options available when they do is really important to patients.”

The Institute also recommended Gazyvaro in combination with bendamustine followed by Gazyvaro maintenance for use within the Cancer Drugs Fund as an option for treating adults with follicular lymphoma that did not respond or progressed during or up to six months after treatment with rituximab or a rituximab-containing regimen, only if the conditions in the managed access agreement are followed.