10. May 2012 10:57
Roche’s Tarceva (erlotinib) has been recommended in final draft guidance as a first-line option for people with EGFR mutation-positive non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
The decision comes after Roche provided NICE with additional data on the clinical and cost effectiveness of Tarceva when supplied under an agreed Patient Access Scheme (PAS).
Professor Carole Longson, Director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE, said the health regulator is “pleased to recommend another treatment” for NSCLC.
NICE recently recommended Iressa (gefitinib) as a first-line treatment for NSCLC. Roche were unable to provide any clinical data comparing Tarceva with Iressa, but specialists confirmed the two were similar and equally effective.
Tarceva and Iressa work differently to chemotherapy. The oral treatments are known as “target agents” due to the way they block certain processes in the cancer cells.
Data supplied by Roche showed Tarceva showed longer progression-free survival and similar overall survival compared with current treatment options. It expects that NICE’s recommendation will benefit approximately 11% of patients with NSCLC.
The PAS agreed between Roche and the DH may mean that Tarceva is supplied to the NHS free of charge in certain circumstances. Tarceva will be made available at a single cost of £12,200 per patient irrespective of the duration of treatment. However, Roche will only invoice the health service after the third monthly pack of Tarceva is supplied. Any patients who receive only one or two months of treatment will receive the drug without the NHS being charged.