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Published on 2 February 2012

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Abiraterone not recommended for prostate cancer

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The UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued new draft guidance not recommending the use of abiraterone (Zytiga, Janssen) in combination with prednisone or prednisolone for the treatment of castration-resistant metastatic prostate cancer that has progressed on or after docetaxel-containing therapy.

“Abiraterone is a drug that could potentially extend life by more than three months, compared with placebo,” said Sir Andrew Dillon, Chief Executive of NICE.

“For patients, one of the key benefits of this drug is that it can be taken orally at home.

“We are therefore disappointed not to be able to recommend it for use on the NHS.

“However, it is an expensive drug and the independent advisory committee that made this decision did not feel the drug provided enough benefit to patients to justify the price the NHS is being asked to pay, even with the discount that the manufacturer has offered.”

The committee suggested that the treatment did not meet the criteria to be considered under NICE’s special arrangements for drugs treating people at the end of their life as the population for which it is licensed cannot be considered to be small.

Consultees, including the manufacturer, healthcare professionals and members of the public are now able to comment on the preliminary recommendations, which are available for public consultation.

The manufacturer can also consider whether it wishes to further reduce the acquisition cost to the NHS of the drug by proposing a revised patient access scheme.

Comments received during this consultation will be fully considered by the Committee and following this meeting the next draft guidance will be issued.

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence



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