Cost Watchdog of Britain’s Healthcare Sector Approves GSK’s Melanoma Drug under Price-Cut Conditions


Published Date : Sep 18, 2014

Cost control agency of Britain’s healthcare sector, The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), has recommended a drug for melanoma marketed by GlaxoSmithKline after the drug maker offered to supply it at a discounted rate to the National Health Service. 

The drug, titled Tafinlar, is currently marketed by GSK but it will soon be transferred to Novartis under a trade deal between the tow companies. 

Tafinlar is an oral drug that works in a way similar to Roche’s Zelboraf. Both the drugs target a specific gene mutation that is linked with more than half known varieties of melanomas. 

These medicines have resulted in remarkable progress in shrinking melanomas in clinical trials, although cancers typically turn resistant to treatment within a year of use.

NICE has stated that it was fast-tracking its proposal for finalizing Tafinlar to the stage of final drafting so as to speed up its access in treatment.

NICE usually takes several rounds of draft guidance and around nine months before it finalizes to recommend a medicine. But the matter has been sped up for this drug mainly because GSK produced it in the exact framework of European license – and not to forget a price cut. 

But the proposal is based upon the condition of GSK providing the drug at an undisclosed, discounted ate to the NICE. Currently the drug is available in market at about 1,400 pounds for a pack of 28-capsules of 75 mg power. Doctors recommend that the drug should be taken 150 mg twice a day.

NICE also recommends the use of injectable drug Yervoy, marketed by Bristol-Myers Squibb for treating melanoma.