NICE health cost agency nixes Jakavi cost effectiveness for the UK
Reuters) - A new drug from Novartis for myelofibrosis, a rare blood cancer, is not worth using on the state health service, Britain's healthcare cost watchdog said on Wednesday.
A disappointing but not entirely unexpected preliminary decision by the health cost agency of the UK. This is the big danger that we are facing in the health care sector as socialized medicine produces sanguine opinions on who lives and who dies. Basically, you have to have the dough to live.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) said it had issued new draft guidance not recommending Jakavi because it could not be considered a cost-effective use of resources.
The drug costs 3,600 pounds ($5,600) for a 60-tablet pack, corresponding to an annual cost of approximately 43,200 pounds per patient.
Jakavi, which was licensed from Incyte, was given a marketing authorization in Europe last August.
Industry analysts expect it to have annual worldwide sales of around $1.5 billion by 2017, according to consensus forecasts compiled by Thomson Reuters Pharma.
The NICE draft guidance is now out for consultation, ahead of a final decision on the medicine expected in June.
It helps to know something about NICE. They have by far the strictest cost guidelines of any treatment review agency in the world (I knew some numbers a while ago, but I forget--something like $80K for a year of life, but allowable expense to be reduced in the same proportion as QoL). Basically, their brief is to deny reimbursement. The massive and rapid improvement in QoL with Jakavi helps, but the inadequate evidence of life extension gave them cover for the denial. The second round is when new treatments get authorized for reimbursement. There can be more rounds if needed. And yes, I've said this before.
This peculiar process is unique to Britain, although one of the Baltic countries (Denmark? Another thing I've forgotten) has a somewhat milder version.
The other two serious problems in Europe are that the Spanish government is running at about 10% efficiency top to bottom, and that includes approval for drug reimbursement, and that Italy has a lot of assertion of power by regional governments, which slows drug rollouts by around 6 months.