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23 Nov 2016

NICE ‘yes’ to Imnovid in the fight against the biggest blood cancer killer in the UK

Pomalidomide available to people in England immediately via the Cancer Drugs Fund.

Today, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended the use of pomalidomide, in combination with dexamethasone, via the NHS for people in England with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma (RRMM). Specifically, the treatment is recommended for adults at third or subsequent relapse following three previous treatments including both Revlimid (lenalidomide) and bortezomib. This decision means that pomalidomide is now accessible to all eligible patients on the health service throughout the UK, and will be available to people in England immediately via the Cancer Drugs Fund.

Pomalidomide works by both directly targeting myeloma cells and utilising the body’s immune system to help find and fight the cancer. In clinical studies, patients who had received at least two prior treatment regimens benefitted from an overall survival increase when treated with pomalidomide, compared to those receiving high-dose dexamethasone alone (13.1 months vs 8.1 months).

Dr Kevin Boyd, Consultant Haematologist at The Royal Marsden Hospital, London comments: “Today’s news will be welcomed by both the clinical community and the multiple myeloma patients we treat. For most patients, multiple myeloma is an incurable blood cancer which requires a different treatment option at every stage of disease. Pomalidomide is an important treatment for people affected by late stage multiple myeloma; we know that it is an effective medicine and can be taken by patients long term. It is very reassuring that the medicine will be available to patients as the only NICE approved treatment at this stage of the disease.”

Eric Low, Chief Executive at Myeloma UK comments: “This is brilliant news for myeloma patients in England, who have been unable to access pomalidomide on the NHS since September 2015, when it was delisted from the Cancer Drugs Fund. Pomalidomide is an effective treatment which will fill a major gap in the treatment pathway for patients at third relapse and beyond. We are really pleased that through effective collaboration between Celgene, Myeloma UK and NICE, it has resulted in approval of this treatment.”

Commenting on the NICE decision, Dr Adrian Kilcoyne, Medical Director at Celgene UK & Ireland, said: “Since the removal of pomalidomide from the CDF, Celgene has worked collaboratively with NICE to help ensure that patients in England can access this medicine which can improve overall survival by 5 months. The positive recommendation issued by NICE means that eligible patients across the UK can access this important treatment from today. This is great news for patients.”

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