The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in Britain has approved two new drugs for treating skin cancer after the manufacturers agreed to supply the drugs to the NHS at reduced costs.
The drugs, ipilimumab and vemurafenib, are manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Roche respectively. Nice had initially decided not to recommend the drugs for NHS due to high costs but was swayed into recommending them after the manufacturers agreed on an undisclosed price discount.
Vemurafenib, which will be available as Zelboraf, is now recommended for treating patients with metastatic BRAF V600 mutation-positive melanoma, which affects nearly half of all melanoma patients while Bristol-Myers Squibb's ipilimumab vaccine, to be sold under the brand name Yervoy, will be used to treat patients with advanced malignant melanoma who have received prior chemotherapy.
"These new draft recommendations represent really good news for skin cancer patients. Vemurafenib and ipilimumab are breakthrough treatments that can potentially significantly affect prognosis for these patients and we are very pleased that the manufacturers have worked with us so that we are now able to recommend both ipilimumab and vemurafenib", Nice's Professor Carole Longson said.