The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has refused to authorize AbbVie Inc (NYSE:ABBV) Venclyxto on NHS. Besides the price, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence also cited doubts regarding the evidence presented by AbbVie that the drug was effective.
The appraisal committee of NICE said that the results of the trials were possibly biased because of the single-arm design that was applied in conducting the trials. Additionally, only a few patients were involved in the trials.
“The patients in the comparator trial did not reflect those for whom venetoclax may be option,” said the committee.
Too high a price
With regards to the price of the drug, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence also expressed concerns about the price. In normal circumstances, the only drugs accepted by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence are those that can offer a QALY (quality-adjusted life year) at a maximum cost of not more than £30,000. The price of Venclyxto was higher than this.
One wonders why whether prices are too high is not a factor determined by customers rather than bureaucrats.
This is a blow to AbbVie since it was looking to benefit from its BCL-2 inhibitor being the first in the market. At the moment, the drug is being used by a small number of patients who suffer from conditions that are harder to treat. The rejection by NICE is thus preventing AbbVie from reaching a wider pool of patients.
Better prospects going forward
In the earnings call during the release of the results for the fourth quarter of 2016, executives from AbbVie said they expected the lymphocytic leukemia drug to bring in revenues of about $125 million in 2017. The market, which currently has Imbruvica as the leader, is worth approximately $300 million. In the next ten years, however, analysts are of the view that with more of its products getting approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, revenues will rise to reach a level of between $1.5 billion and $2 billion in the next ten years.
In Wednesday’s trading session, shares of AbbVie Inc edged up by 1.36 percent to close the day at $61.65.