Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE)’s leukemia drug Bosulif has become the first medicine to be reassessed and approved by the U.K.’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Concession by Pfizer on the price of Bosulif is part of the reason the health authority agreed to recommend the drug for use by the U.K.’s National Health Service.
The standard cost of Bosulif treatment is $58,000 a year. It was not immediately clear how much discount Pfizer has agreed to offer on the cost of the drug to win the backing of NICE.
The mandate of the U.K.’s NICE is to assess the cost and effectiveness of medicines before it recommends them for use in the country’s public health system. Some years back NICE refused to back Pfizer’s Bosulif on the basis that it didn’t meet its cost and effectiveness requirements. But the drug has been available for patients in the U.K.’s public health system through the support of another government agency called Cancer Drug Fund (CDF).
The government set up CDF to back the cancer drugs that NICE didn’t support. But quickly exceeded its budget and NICE came in to assess and determined which drugs on its list should be retained and which ones should be dropped. Pfizer’s Bosulif was among those drugs being assessed and there are nearly 30 others whose fate still remains unknown.
Measures to cut treatment costs
The drug assessment by NICE is part of the U.K.’s efforts to lower the cost of treatment in the public health system. According to NICE, the review of the drugs covered should also speed up patients’ access to new and more effective drugs as they become available. As such, NICE will be reviewing the effectiveness of cancer drugs right from the time their developers apply for their marketing approval. That should be mean that by the time the regulators approve a drug for marketing in the U.K., NICE would have known whether or not the drug is worth its coverage.
At least 80 new patients to use Bosulif
NICE’s endorsement of Bosulif means that the drug will now be accessible by a larger number of eligible patients. The patients targeted by Bosulif are those afflicted by chronic myeloid leukemia and have been unsuccessful with other treatment options.