Wednesday, October 19, 2011

UK Citizens denied Ipilimumab

"Not so NICE" has done it again. On October 14, NICE, the UK's National Institute of Clinical Excellence, announced that it will not approve the use of Yervoy (ipilimumab), for the treatment of unresectable stage III and IV melanoma, despite a randomized trial showing improvement in survival in a situation where there is no effective treatment.

NICE used it's usual excuse: "It is not cost effective."

Almost twice as many patients treated with Yervoy are alive at one year. But, in a news release, NICE chief executive Andrew Dillon criticized the results of the study, saying that Yervoy (ipilimumab) had not been compared to the drugs currently used to treat stage III or IV melanoma.

In U.K. practice, like the rest of the world, this is carboplatin-based chemotherapy, dacarbazine, or supportive care. Will everyone who has seen a good response to the above treatment please raise their hands? I haven't in years, and neither has anyone else.

Where do a bunch of inexperienced bureaucrats get off telling the world's experts how to treat their patients?

Ipilimumab has already been approved by the US FDA and EMA. Very exciting things are happening in melanoma treatment these days and if you have the disease, you want to have the chance to be around to benefit from recent advances. Yervoy (ipilimumab) is one of them.

I guess Britons with advanced melanoma will have to watch from afar. Do they understand that they're being denied the right to live?