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Published on 20 August 2014

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New NICE position on lenalidomide

NICE has issued final draft guidance recommending lenalidomide as an option for treating myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).
MDS, which are diagnosed in around 2,000 people each year in England, are a group of bone marrow disorders characterised by the underproduction of one or more types of blood cells due to dysfunction of the marrow. MDS can lead to life-threatening disease including acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), as well as anaemia and increased risk of bleeding and infections.

NICE has issued final draft guidance recommending lenalidomide as an option for treating myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).
MDS, which are diagnosed in around 2,000 people each year in England, are a group of bone marrow disorders characterised by the underproduction of one or more types of blood cells due to dysfunction of the marrow. MDS can lead to life-threatening disease including acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), as well as anaemia and increased risk of bleeding and infections.
This appraisal focused on the use of lenalidomide (also known as Revlimid and marketed by Celgene) for treating people with a specific type of MDS that is characterised by a chromosomal abnormality called an isolated deletion 5q cytogenetic abnormality. At the moment the main treatment option for people with the particular kind of MDS considered in this appraisal is best supportive care including regular blood transfusions.
Commenting on the final draft guidance, Sir Andrew Dillon, NICE chief executive, said: “The committee heard from clinical experts that lenalidomide is an effective therapy. Celgene – who market lenalidomide – worked with us to provide enough evidence to make it possible for us to recommend it for this group of people.
“Celgene provided a revised analyses and further information on their proposal for a reduction in the cost of the drug to the NHS (patient access scheme).”

Celgene’s patient access scheme involves the NHS paying for lenalidomide treatment for up to 26 monthly cycles. The company will provide the drug free of charge for those people who receive more than 26 monthly cycles.
The draft guidance is now with consultees, who have the opportunity to appeal against it. Until NICE issues final guidance, NHS bodies should make decisions locally on the funding of specific treatments.



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