Celgene pricing convinces NICE to OK Vidaza

Celgene has struck a NICE deal. After an initial rebuff, the U.S.-based drugmaker's blood cancer drug Vidaza won a recommendation from the the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to treat two types of leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes. And it scored the win after offering the U.K. cost-effectiveness watchdog a cost-sharing arrangement it couldn't refuse.

The details of the new pricing scheme aren't public. But as InPharm reports, the price change brought Vidaza's cost per quality-adjusted life year--a measure NICE uses to evaluate price and effectiveness of drugs--to £47,000 from £63,000, or to roughly $76,000 from more than $101,000.

"[Vidaza] is not a cure, but it does have the potential to extend patients' lives by an average of nine months," NICE director Carole Longson said. "It is a very expensive drug, but the manufacturers have submitted a patient access scheme where the cost will be reduced."

NICE has developed a reputation for holding a tough line on costly drugs, particularly expensive cancer meds. To persuade the agency to accept their products for use by the National Health Service, drugmakers have been taking a variety of approaches to share the costs and risks of treatment. Johnson & Johnson negotiated the first breakthrough risk-sharing deal with its cancer drug Velcade, agreeing to refund the cost for treating patients who don't fully respond.

- see the release from NICE
- read the InPharm news