Two bits of good news for GlaxoSmithKline today, from two of the big acronyms in the pharma business. First, the U.K.'s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (a.k.a. NICE) says it'll reconsider its decision against the breast cancer drug Tyverb. Since NICE ruled in March that the drug was too expensive for the benefits it offered, the agency rewrote its rules for treating patients with a short life expectancy. And Glaxo appealed, offering a cost-sharing deal under which it would pay for the first 12 weeks of Tyverb treatment.
Now, NICE has relented, saying it will uphold the drugmaker's appeal. Glaxo--and others in the same boat on cancer treatments--can now resubmit evidence for their products, using the new end-of-life guidelines. "We welcome the decision of the appeal panel and the opportunity to make a full submission to NICE under the end of life criteria," Glaxo's U.K. manager Simon Jose said in a statement. "We appreciate that NICE has some very tough decisions to make ... but given the considerable survival benefits that Tyverb offers ... we believe it deserves full and thorough consideration."
Meanwhile, the WHO has blessed Glaxo's cervical cancer vaccine Cervarix, making the shot ready for use in developing countries. As you know, the WHO has to "prequalify" vaccines in order for UN agencies and others to buy them. Now that Glaxo has the WHO nod, it can tackle the next obstacle: Helping agencies and governments find the money to pay for big vaccination programs.