Pfizer, Bayer and Boehringer meds win backing from U.K. cost agency

U.K. cost-effectiveness watchdogs have been busy this week. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) blessed Pfizer's ($PFE) kidney cancer treatment Inlyta, changed its mind in support of Bayer's prostate cancer therapy Xofigo, and backed Boehringer Ingelheim's anticoagulant Pradaxa for blood clots in the legs and lungs.

The Inlyta guidance follows a long saga at NICE for the Pfizer drug. After previous rejections, the agency in April drafted a recommendation for Inlyta (axitinib) as a second-line treatment of advanced kidney cancer. The latest guidance offers "further clarity around prescribing axitinib," the agency says in its statement. NICE also gives a nod to the discounted cost Pfizer offered to change its mind.

On Xofigo, NICE made a partial turnabout from a rejection issued in March. At the time, the agency said it didn't have enough data supporting the radiotherapy as a treatment for bone metastases in advanced prostate cancer. NICE wanted to compare Xofigo (radium-223) with an alternate prostate cancer treatment from Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ), Zytiga (abiterone), and with the chemotherapy docetaxel.

Now, the agency says it may recommend Xofigo for patients who've already been treated with docetaxel. That leaves out men who aren't suitable for docetaxel therapy. Bayer says it will work with NICE on an approval for all patients who need it; a final guidance has yet to come.

Finally, there's Pradaxa (dabigatran), which has won approvals from NICE for a variety of clot-fighting indications, including stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation. The latest nod for the warfarin alternative drug: Treatment and prevention of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.

NICE's drug-appraisal panel "felt that dabigatran represents a potential benefit for many people who have had a DVT or PE, particularly those who have risk factors for recurrence of a blood clot and who therefore need longer term treatment," the agency said in its announcement. "We are pleased, therefore, to be able to recommend dabigatran as a cost-effective option for treating DVT and PE and preventing further episodes in adults."

- see the NICE release on Inlyta
- read NICE's statement on Pradaxa
- get the Pharma Letter piece on Xofigo

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