Venetoclax, a novel drug for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), has been fast-tracked by the National Institute for Health & Care Excellence (NICE) into NHS use, it was announced last week.
After reaching a deal with the drug’s manufacturer, NICE gave the go-ahead for its use to treat adults with relapsed or refractory CLL, in combination with rituximab. It is estimated that around 1,000 people will be eligible for venetoclax in the first year.
The drug, which only gained marketing authorisation in October, blocks the anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 protein, leading to the death of diseased cells. The listed cost of a course is £4,789, but the NHS has been offered an undisclosed discount by the manufacturer Abbvie.
Meindert Boysen, director of NICE’s Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, said: “We are very pleased to announce another treatment option for people with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukaemia will be available on the NHS.
“This is exciting and very important to people with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukaemia where there are limited treatment options.
“I urge companies to seize opportunities for earlier engagement as part of our new appraisal process, so we can support access to these kinds of treatments at an even faster rate.”
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