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NICE says CDF liver cancer drug is not cost-effective

NICE says CDF liver cancer drug is not cost-effective

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) said in draft guidance that a liver cancer drug, available on the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF), is not value for money.

Sorafenib, which NICE originally said was not cost effective in 2010, was later made available through the CDF.

NICE is reconsidering sorafenib as part of its programme to reappraise drugs that are currently available on the CDF.

As part of the reappraisal the drug manufacturer, Bayer, presented further evidence, which was not included in their original submission.

The price of sorafenib is also lower than at the time of the original appraisal.

The committee reviewed the resubmission for sorafenib and concluded that there was still considerable uncertainty about how long patients sould take the medicine.

It was also still unclear how well the medicine increases chances of survival.

NICE concluded that sorafenib was not cost-effective because these uncertainties were not compensated by the new price.

Professor Carole Longson, director of the health technology evaluation centre at NICE said: “When we originally appraised sorafenib there were uncertainties in the cost-effectiveness analyses and it could not be considered value for money on the NHS.

“The company have revisited some of the evidence but significant uncertainties remain. We cannot recommend treatments if we are not absolutely sure that they both benefit patients and are priced in a way that maximises their prospect of being a cost-effective use of NHS resources.

“This decision will be disappointing for some patients. However we need to make sure the NHS makes the most of its resources in a fair and balanced way. We are open to working with the company to explore how uncertainties in the evidence base can be managed.”

The draft guidelines are up for consultation during which time healthcare professionals and members of the public are able to comment on the preliminary recommendations.

Until final guidance is issued to the NHS, sorafenib will still be available to patients in the old CDF and patients who already receive this drug will be able to continue their treatment.  

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The NICE said in draft guidance that a liver cancer drug available on the CDF is not value for money