Takeda, who market the drug, struck a deal with NHS England after NICE said ixazomib should be available whilst more evidence is gathered on its value.
Evidence showed that ixazomib is effective at slowing down disease progression compared with standard treatment but it is not clear whether it helps people live longer.
Mirella Marlow, acting director of the centre for health technology evaluation, said: “We do not yet know the full extent of ixazomib’s benefits to patients, but the early results look promising. Our recommendation means that patients can access this new, oral treatment whilst more data is gathered on whether this treatment will represent value for money for the NHS.”
Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer that affects the plasma cells in the bone marrow, causing them to multiply uncontrollably and produce an abnormal type of protein. This leads to bone damage and affects the production of healthy blood cells around the body.
Ixazomib is used to treat patients who have previously had two or three other treatments. It is given in combination with lenalidomide and dexamethasone. Ixazomib works by slowing down the cancer cell’s ability to digest proteins. These proteins would otherwise help the cancer cell multiply and grow.
Dion Warren, Vice President, Head of Oncology Business Unit, Europe & Canada at Takeda Pharmaceuticals AG commented: “The NICE decision to include ixazomib in the CDF is a real win for the myeloma community. This is a success story of how Takeda has worked together with NICE, NHS England, patient groups and physicians to ensure myeloma patients in England can gain access to this important treatment.”
Rosemarie Finley, Chief Executive at Myeloma UK said: “This is fantastic news for myeloma patients and their families, not just for immediately eligible patients, but for all patients. Multiple myeloma is an incurable cancer and patients know they face relapse at some point in the future, so it is hugely important for them to know that effective treatment options will be available when their myeloma returns.”
Data on the how well the treatment works is anticipated to be collected until December 2019. This new evidence will be reassessed by NICE to see if the clinical uncertainties have been resolved and whether or not ixazomib can be recommended for routine use.
Patients have been able to access the drug since December 2017 when NICE issued draft guidance.