The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have announced their decision that Gilead’s CAR-T cell therapy Yescarta, the first of its kind to be assessed by the institute, is too expensive to be justified for use on the National Health Service (NHS).
The rejection for Yescarta, which is a CAR-T cell therapy developed for patients suffering from certain forms of blood cancer, follows the recent approval of the product by the European Commission for its use in the treatment of two aggressive types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. This approval paved the way for each member state to make a decision on whether to fund the treatment. NICE are also currently assessing Novartis’s rival therapy Kymriah which has also recently gained EU approval.
The director of the center for health technology evaluation at NICE, Meindert Boysen, stated that Yescarta was “an exciting innovation in very difficult to treat cancers, with a promise of cure for some patients” but said its price was too high for it to be considered cost-effective. The list price for Yescarta in the United States is $373,000, with the UK price being kept confidential.
Gilead said they are “in ongoing discussions with NICE to identify appropriate treatment comparators which can clarify how cell therapy may be made available to patients in the UK”.
Meanwhile Raj Chopra, head of cancer therapeutics at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, said the NICE rejection was disappointing for patients, commenting “If we’re going to see CAR-T therapy widely available on the NHS, we need to find ways to reduce the costs”.
Source: UK rejects Gilead's CAR-T cancer cell therapy as too expensive