NHS England lifts leukaemia drug restrictions

NHS England lifts leukaemia drug restrictions

A restriction the NHS had set on cancer drug ibrutinib has now been lifted.

Despite it being declared an effective medication that offered value for money by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) in january, NHS England previously said it would pay for ibrutinib only to treat patients who have relapsed within three years.

NHS England has now overturned those restrictions and accepts the treatment “is more effective than previously thought”.

The Cancer Drugs Fund asked NHS England’s Chemotherapy Clinical Reference Group (CRG) to reexamine the commissioning treatment criteria for the use of ibrutinib in previously treated patients with CLL.

Professor Stephen Powis, the national medical director for NHS England, said: ”The CRG was unanimous in its view that, on clinical grounds, the ibrutinib clinical commissioning treatment criteria in this indication should be amended such that it can be made available as a treatment option for those patients who have had remission durations of 3 years or more with their preceding line of therapy.”

Professor Powis said NHS England and the drug’s manufacturers would now work together to roll out access.

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