Thousands of prostate cancer patients eligible for drug after watchdog approval

·1-min read

Thousands of cancer patients will be eligible for an “effective and valuable” treatment after it was recommended by a health watchdog.

Some 8,000 people in England with hormone-sensitive or hormone-relapsed prostate cancer will now be eligible for treatment with apalutamide.

The recommendation comes after a discount was agreed for the drug, also called Erleada and made by pharmaceutical giant Janssen, to be available on the NHS.

A pack of 112 tablets normally costs £2,735, but a confidential discount has been agreed, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said.

The drug is now available on the NHS (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
The drug is now available on the NHS (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Apalutamide works by blocking the effect of testosterone on prostate cancer cells.

Nice has recommended it for use in people with hormone-relapsed prostate cancer at high risk of spreading, and for people with hormone-sensitive metastatic prostate cancer, but in the latter case only if docetaxel is not suitable or cannot be tolerated.

Meindert Boysen, Nice deputy chief executive and director of the centre for health technology evaluation, said: “We are very pleased that Janssen has been able to work with us to address the uncertainties in the evidence identified by the committee in the previous draft guidance.

“This means that we are able to produce final draft guidance recommending apalutamide as an effective and valuable additional treatment option for people with these types of prostate cancer.”

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