NICE shuts down AZs Tagrisso and backs Pfizer rival Vizimpro instead

Englands cost watchdogs wont get behind AstraZeneca blockbuster Tagrisso in previously untreated patients with EGFR-mutated lung cancer. But in a change of events, they’re instead backing a Pfizer challenger. Friday, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) deemed Tagrisso too expensive for routine NHS use, dealing a blow to AZ’s sales ambitions. NICE already endorses Boehringer Ingelheim’s Gilotrif, Roche’s Tarceva and AstraZeneca’s own Iressa, it said (PDF), and while Tagrisso has topped both Tarceva and Iressa in trials, there’s no evidence that it can beat out Gilotrif. While the body sometimes covers a drug under its Cancer Drugs Fund while companies collect more data, NICE shut down that option for the British drugmaker. “It does not have the potential to be cost effective at the price offered,” it said. Tagrisso runs at £5,770 for a pack of 30 tablets, and the confidential discount AZ served up wasn’t enough to sway the gatekeeper. Meanwhile, though, Pfizer can’t say the same. After an initial rejection, NICE came around to support its Vizimpro on Friday, and it made clear that Pfizer’s price break on the drug was responsible for the about-face.

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