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Cheaper Tarceva receives nod for English lung cancer patients

This article was originally published in Scrip

Executive Summary

Roche's plan to equalise the cost of using Tarceva (erlotinib) to treat non-small cell lung cancer with the cost of Sanofi-Aventis's Taxotere (docetaxel) in the national health service in England and Wales has been incorporated in a final draft of guidance from the National Institute for health and Clinical Excellence(Scrip Online, July 7th, 2008). Tarceva is tentatively recommended within its licensed indication as an alternative to docetaxel as a second-line treatment option for NSCLC patients on the basis that its overall treatment cost is equal to that of docetaxel, leaving clinicians and patients to determine which therapy is most suitable. It is not recommended where docetaxel is unsuitable, or for third-line treatment after docetaxel. Roche expects head-to-head data to become available in 2011 later and will supply Tarceva at a reduced price until then. The institute will accept comments on the latest draft of the technology appraisal until October 14th and expects to publish binding guidance for the NHS later this year. Earlier drafts consistently rejected Tarceva for NHS use in this indication for reasons of cost-effectiveness.

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