NICE Reject Breast Cancer Drug Faslodex

England and Wales’ cost watchdog, NICE, yesterday reiterated their assessment that AstraZeneca’s breast cancer drug Faslodex does not represent good use of NHS funds and has not been proven to be better than current treatments.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published their  final appraisal determination, saying that they do not endorse the use of Faslodex (fulvestrant) as an alternative to aromatase inhibitors for post-menopausal women who have oestrogen-receptor-positive, locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer, and who have already received anti-oestrogen therapy (such as tamoxifen).

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence comment that although AstraZeneca estimated that Faslodex can prolong life when compared to the firm’s own Arimidex (anastrozole) and Novartis’ Femara (letrozole), NICE’s independent advisory committee “found this to be considerably uncertain”

Specifically, NICE stated that “network meta-analyses showed no statistically significant differences in overall survival,” rate and while Faslodex is shown to delay cancer growth better than Arimidex, “there is no evidence that it is better at this than letrozole.”

NICE also added that the initial month of treatment costs £1,044.82, on account of the additional loading dose and after that £522.41 per month, administered as two slow intramuscular injections. In contrast, a 28-pack of Arimidex tablets, which are now generically available, costs £5.99, while a month’s worth of Femara costs £84.86.

NICE chief executive Sir Andrew Dillon concluded that as Faslodex “has not been proven to be cost-effective, we cannot justify diverting NHS funds from other areas of healthcare in order to fund its use.” If no appeals are received by the 24th November, NICE will publish their final guidance in January.


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