Sanofi’s prostate cancer drug Jevtana (cabazitaxel) has not been recommended by NICE in draft guidance in combination with prednisone or prednisolone as a second line treatment.
NICE’s Appraisal Committee raised concerns about the medication’s cost effectiveness, its associated adverse effects and evidence supplied by the manufacturer.
Sir Andrew Dillon, NICE Chief Executive, says that the Committee was “particularly concerned” about the uncertainty on patients’ renal and cardiac systems.
A number of factors are taken into consideration by NICE’s Appraisal Committees when assessing the cost effectiveness of a treatment. These include the medication’s clinical effectiveness, its side effects, the benefits it brings to patients and the financial cost.
This formula then enables them to determine the cost of using the drug to provide a year of the best quality of life available or quality adjusted life year (QALY). NICE says they usually recommend treatments that cost around £30,000 per QALY or less, however the cost of Jevtana was far greater than this figure.
“The manufacturer of cabazitaxel provided one study on the effectiveness of the drug; in this study cabazitaxel was shown to extend life by approximately 10 weeks,” said Sir Andrew. “Although cabazitaxel has been shown to be effective, it is also associated with a number of adverse events.”
He added that the Appraisal Committee was also concerned about the “validity” of the health related information supplied by Sanofi after it provided one study which demonstrated a median overall survival gain of 2.4 months and an mean overall survival gain of 4.2 in its model.
“The Committee also felt that the treatment did not meet the criteria to be considered under NICE’s special arrangements for end of life, as based on the current data the length of the life extension could not be considered robustly proven to be at least three months,” added the Chief Executive.
“Once all these factors had been taken into account it was estimated that the cost per QALY would be more than £89,000. Therefore the committee concluded that cabazitaxel would not be a cost effective use of limited NHS resources.”
If a drug does meet the criteria to be considered under the Institute’s supplementary advice for end of life treatments, a higher cost per QALY may be accepted by NICE. There is currently no set threshold cost per QALY that meets this criterion, but since the supplementary advice was introduced, the only drug recommended under this method has been Sunitinib for renal cell carcinoma at a cost of £50,000.
NICE said that Javtana did not meet this criterion because the Committee did not consider the length of the life extension to be “sufficiently robust”.