NICE stiff-arms Glaxo's Tyverb--again

The U.K.'s cost-effectiveness watchdog still isn't impressed by GlaxoSmithKline's breast cancer drug Tyverb. After yet another review of the drug, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence decided that using it still wouldn't be a worthwhile use of the National Health Service's resources.

NICE ruled in March that the Glaxo med--sold elsewhere as Tykerb--was of limited benefit, and too expensive besides. But Glaxo appealed. And the company sweetened the pot with a "patient access programme" that would give NHS patients free Tyverb for three months' worth of treatment. Moreover, Glaxo's appeal asked NICE to look specifically at patients whose life expectancy was short.

But it wasn't enough. Tyverb is still too costly for the calculated benefit, NICE says. And though the U.K. isn't one of the world's leading drug markets, NICE's decisions are closely watched by other government and insurance gatekeepers. Not to mention the fact that, as Reuters points out, the U.K. happens to be Glaxo's backyard. Final guidance from the agency is expected later this year.

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