NICE nixes AZ's Faslodex in prelim guidance

The U.K.'s cost-effectiveness watchdog strikes again--or should we say, "strikes down?" The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence says it won't recommend AstraZeneca's ($AZN) higher-dose version of the breast cancer drug Faslodex for use by the National Health Service. AstraZeneca hasn't provided conclusive evidence that Faslodex would be better for patients than currently used aromatase inhibitor drugs, the agency said.

"After analyzing the evidence comparing [Faslodex's] clinical effectiveness with aromatase inhibitor therapy, our independent committee found that the estimates of overall survival and time to tumor progression were very uncertain," NICE chief Andrew Dillon said in a statement. As such, Faslodex didn't make the "value-for-money" grade, he said. The previous-generation drugs include AstraZeneca's own Arimidex, as well as Novartis' ($NVS) Femara and Pfizer's ($PFE) Aromasin.

AstraZeneca said it would be working with NICE to reverse the agency's initial impression. The company pointed to data showing Faslodex stops breast cancer growth for nearly 9 months, on average, in post-menopausal women with estrogen-sensitive advanced breast cancer who'd already received anti-estrogen drugs. A final decision is due by January.

- check out the NICE statement
- read the PharmaTimes story
- get more from Dow Jones
- see the InPharm coverage