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09
Mar
Not so NICE decision

written by

Leukaemia Care, Charity

  • NICE-new-logo-homepage-panel-1

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published its final appraisal determination for pomalidomide, which is manufactured and marketed by Celgene as Imnovid®.

NICE has not recommended the use of pomalidomide, in combination with dexamethasone, for the treatment of relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma patients in adults who have had at least 2 previous treatments, including lenalidomide and bortezomib, and whose disease has progressed on the last therapy.

Myeloma (also known as multiple myeloma) is a cancer of the plasma cells, a type of white blood cell found in the bone marrow. Plasma cells produce antibodies called ‘immunoglobulins’ to help fight infections. In patients with myeloma these plasma cells multiply uncontrollably and produce only one type of antibody called ‘paraprotreject a new myeloma drugein’ which has no useful function and cannot fight infection effectively.

Pomalidomide is an ‘immunomodulatory drug’, which works by encouraging the patient’s immune system to target and destroy ‘abnormal’ cancer cells. This decision means that patients in England and Wales will be unable to access this treatment through the mainstream NHS system. However, this treatment has been approved for use within NHS Scotland by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) and is available in England for the time being via the Cancer Drugs Fund. As such it is NHS patients in Wales who this decision will affect most, as they are currently unable to access this treatment.

Whilst this guidance means that at present pomalidomide is not available for mainstream NHS funding in England and Wales, it is possible that a solution may yet be reached, for which there are two potential options. Firstly the decision may be appealed; or secondly the marketer may decide to offer a patient access scheme (PAS), which would improve the cost-effectiveness of the drug. As yet, it is unknown which course of action the company will opt for.

Monica Izmajlowicz, Chief Executive of Leukaemia CARE said: “This decision is devastating for NHS patients in Wales, who cannot currently access this treatment. However, we remain hopeful that a solution can still be reached to enable patients to access this important drug in the future.”

If you are affected by this decision and would like to speak to somebody about it, please call our CARE line on 08088 010 444.