NICE snubs Glaxo's pay-for-performance plan

Britain's National Institute for Clinical Excellence isn't backing off its tough stance on cancer meds. The cost-effectiveness watchdog yesterday straight-armed GlaxoSmithKline's breast cancer treatment Tyverb--for the second time--despite an innovative pricing proposal from GSK. According to NICE, the drug shouldn't be used by the UK's National Health Service except in clinical trials.

Glaxo has been working to persuade NICE of Tyverb's cost-effectiveness since the agency first indicated it would recommend against the treatment, which is aimed at women with advanced HER-2 cancer. Glaxo even offered to treat eligible patients for free for 12 weeks, collecting payment only for those helped by the drug after that.

But as Glaxo announced today, NICE remained unmoved. "Given our involvement, it is difficult to comment without the appearance of self interest," Glaxo's UK general manager said in a statement. "[H]owever, we strongly believe that the wrong decision has been made for patients, doctors and the NHS." But hope is not lost: This is a draft recommendation; the final decision is expected sometime next month.

- read the GSK release