Britain snubs costly Novartis blood cancer drug

British health authorities said on Wednesday they would not recommend Jakavi, a drug produced by Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis to treat a rare form of blood cancer, deeming it too expensive.

Jakavi, or Ruxolitinib, was "clinically effective but could not be considered a cost-effective use of (the National Health Services') resources," the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) said in a statement.

The drug is used to treat myelofibrosis, a rare type of or .

While NICE concluded that Ruxolitinib effectively treated symptoms and "could offer survival benefit," it lamented that it was simply too expensive to impose on the , since it would mean diverting costs from elsewhere.

"It is disappointing not to be able to recommend this new treatment in our preliminary recommendations," it said.

Novartis, which is facing a wave of expiring patents on its traditional big-sellers, is working hard to multiply its new drug offerings like Javaki to ensure continued growth.

But like the rest of the pharmaceutical industry, the company has also had to deal with growing pricing pressure at a time when crisis-hit countries are increasingly being forced to slash .

Last month it announced that its net sales in 2012 had slipped 3.0 percent year-on-year to $56.7 billion (42.1 million euros).

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Study recalculates costs of combination vaccines

Apr 17, 2014

One of the most popular vaccine brands for children may not be the most cost-effective choice. And doctors may be overlooking some cost factors when choosing vaccines, driving the market toward what is actually a more expensive ...

Drug watchdog urges vigilance in cancer drug theft

Apr 17, 2014

Europe's medicine watchdog urged doctors Thursday to be vigilant in administering the cancer drug Herceptin, vials of which had been stolen in Italy and tampered with before being sold back into the supply chain.

User comments