Following the news that a new breast cancer medicine -Palbociclib - from Pfizer has been ruled too expensive to justify its use on the NHS by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), ABPI's Commercial Director, Dr Richard Torbett said it was time to review the way in which modern cancer medicines are appraised as cost-effective.
"Today's ruling is another is blow for breast cancer patients and further reiterates why we need to change the way in which modern cancer medicines are evaluated. Scientific breakthroughs mean that more and more new cancer medicines are given in combination with existing treatments resulting in more patients living longer and living healthier.
Unfortunately the way NICE evaluates these treatments is not keeping pace with this progress. Increasingly cancer treatment combinations are viewed as not being cost effective before the price of the new medicine is even taken into account and we end up with the bizarre situation where the medicine wouldn't be approved even if we paid patients to take it.
The worst possible outcome for a pharmaceutical company is to spend time and money discovering and developing a new medicine and for it not to reach a patient. We hope that in this case the company and NICE can resolve the issue as quickly as possible."
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About the ABPI
The ABPI represents innovative research-based biopharmaceutical companies, large, medium and small, leading an exciting new era of biosciences in the UK.
Our industry, a major contributor to the economy of the UK, brings life-saving and life-enhancing medicines to patients. We represent companies who supply more than 80 per cent of all branded medicines used by the NHS and who are researching and developing the majority of the current medicines pipeline, ensuring that the UK remains at the forefront of helping patients prevent and overcome disease.
Globally our industry is researching and developing more than 7,000 new medicines.
The ABPI is recognised by government as the industry body negotiating on behalf of the branded pharmaceutical industry for statutory consultation requirements including the pricing scheme for medicines in the UK.