A new product will now be available on the NHS. Opdivo, or nivolumab, will now be available on the NHS for patients who are suffering from Lung Cancer. This announcement has come as the manufacturer of the drug, Bristol-Myres Squibb has made a new Cancer Drugs Fund Deal with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
The new deal that has been put forward will see about 1,300 patients with lung cancer receiving nivolumab. The drug works by targeting a protein called PD-L1 which is present in the surface of cells. The protein is involved in the body’s immune response to cancer. Nivolumab has been proven to be clinically effective on some people suffering with lung cancer although the full reason as to why is as yet unknown. The new deal that has been made with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, or NICE, will mean that more patients will have access to the drug while more evidence is gathered on its value.
During their first review of the product, NICE decided that the evidence that was presented was not strong enough for recommendation for NHS use. However, the research has shown that the drug is more effective in some patients with more PD-L1 on their cancer cells. With this breakthrough in information, NICE has requested that the drug be made available with a discount from the company while the clinical trial continue.
NICE and the drug manufacturer are working together and demonstrating flexibility while reaching an agreement about nivolumab. The drug to begin with was also considered to be too expensive to be considered a cost effective treatment. It has been said that companies looking to get their drugs approved from use by NICE, should be entering discussions with a more realistic price in order to allow the institute to get the drugs to patients as soon as possible.
Nivolumab will be available to patients that have advanced non-small cell lung cancer who have already been through chemotherapy, with the drug being administered intravenously in two week intervals.