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Monday 24th June 2019

NICE consults on commonly used expensive drugs for leukaemia

6th May 2011

In new draft guidance, published today, NICE has not been able to recommend dasatinib, high-dose imatinib or nilotinib for the treatment of CML (chronic myeloid leukaemia) that is resistant to standard-dose imatinib.

In response to the draft guidance Andrew Dillon, Chief Executive at NICE, said: "The evidence for the effectiveness of dasatinib, high-dose imatinib and nilotinib is very weak. When we recommend the use of very expensive treatments, we need to be confident that they bring sufficient additional benefit to justify their cost."

Both dasatinib (Sprycel) made by Bristol-Myers Squibb, and nilotinib (Tasigna), made by Novartis cost over £30,000 per patient per year. Novartis has also recently increased the price of imatinib (Glivec) which means the cost per patient is now over £40,000 per year for the high dose of 800mg. Also, CML is a chronic condition, meaning the drugs would be used for a long period of time.

This draft guidance is for the treatment of imatinib-resistant CML only. There are two additional ongoing appraisals: dasatinib and nilotinib for the treatment of CML in people with imatinib intolerance, and dasatinib, nilotinib and standard-dose imatinib for the first-line treatment of CML.

Consultees, healthcare professionals and members of the public are now able to comment on the preliminary recommendations which are available for public consultation at www.nice.org.uk. Comments received during this consultation will be fully considered by the Committee in June 2011 and following this meeting the next draft guidance will be issued.

Until NICE issues final guidance, NHS bodies should make decisions locally on the funding of specific treatments. This draft guidance does not mean that people currently taking dasatinib, high-dose imatinib or nilotinib will stop receiving them. They have the option to continue treatment until they and their clinicians consider it appropriate to stop.


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