NICE Says Dendreon’s Prostate Cancer Drug Is Too Pricy
A UK healthcare cost watchdog has recommended against national coverage of Dendreon’s novel prostate cancer treatment Provenge, deeming it too expensive.
In draft guidance issued last Thursday, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) acknowledged that Provenge (sipuleucel-T) prolonged overall survival in cancer patients compared to placebo, but noted there were uncertainties over how well it works compared with existing treatments.
The agency also balked at the price tag. For patients taking Provenge who haven’t had prior chemotherapy, the cost was roughly $392,200 more than the alternative treatment of Janssen Biotech’s Zytiga (abiraterone), NICE said.
Provenge is Dendreon’s only product and is indicated for patients whose disease has spread, but who show few symptoms and haven’t yet started chemotherapy. The treatment stimulates the patient’s own immune system to identify and attack prostate cancer cells.
The drug has generated $150 million in sales in the first six months of this year, according to Dendreon’s latest financial statement.
The draft guidance will be open for comment until Nov. 11. Dendreon did not return a request for comment as of press time. — Robert King
Originally appeared in Drug Industry Daily, the pharmaceutical industry’s number one source for regulatory news and information. Click here for more information.