Eisai is appalled by arbitrary decision to remove life-extending breast cancer therapy Halaven (eribulin) from cancer drugs fund
Eisai has announced its extreme disappointment that the National Cancer Drugs Fund (NCDF) panel has apparently made the decision to remove Halaven(R) (eribulin) from the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF), following a process of arbitrary evaluation. The decision failed to recognise the overall survival benefit of eribulin, putting a flawed and inconsistent methodological process before the overall survival benefit for people living with terminal cancer. The news is particularly devastating for the thousands of women living with secondary breast cancer in the UK who could benefit from this innovative life-extending treatment.
“Access to the CDF has ensured that drugs like eribulin have become the standard of care for women with metastatic breast cancer in England. This evaluation now means that these women can no longer be treated with the drugs thousands before them have benefited from,” commented Dr Vivek Misra, Consultant in Clinical Oncology at The Christie, Manchester.
Metastatic breast cancer is a very difficult condition to treat and only 13% of women will survive beyond five years. Eribulin remains the only single agent chemotherapy to significantly improve overall survival in women with advanced breast cancer after anthracycline and taxane treatment. To date, eribulin is the sixth most prescribed treatment in the CDF and has been used by more than 2,000 women in England since 2011.
Eribulin is indicated for the treatment of women with locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer who have progressed after at least one chemotherapeutic regimen for advanced disease. Prior therapy should have included an anthracycline and a taxane in either the adjuvant or metastatic setting, unless patients were not suitable for these treatments.
“Eribulin is an effective drug and thanks to the Cancer Drugs Fund, I have been able to prescribe it extensively to my patients. I have witnessed first-hand the positive impact the treatment can have on women living with metastatic breast cancer, both in quality of life and overall life extension,” commented Dr Hartmut Kristeleit, Consultant Medical Oncologist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.
“The NCDF decision implies that doctors have spent years prescribing ineffective treatments to patients, at an obvious cost to the NHS. I do not believe this is the case, nor would eribulin have received Marketing Authorisation Approval here and across the world without very sound clinical data. It’s for this reason that I believe the decision is a mistake,” commented Dr Chris Twelves, Professor of Clinical Cancer Pharmacology and Oncology, and Honorary Consultant in Medical Oncology at the University of Leeds and St James’s Institute of Oncology, who presented the benefits of eribulin to the NCDF panel.
“To say that we are disappointed by this decision would be a gross understatement; we are outraged. We will engage in further dialogue with the NCDF and NHS England and firmly stand by the clinical efficacy of eribulin. We would like to ask the Prime Minister for a pause in the process and now call on the Government to stop arbitrarily de-listing these drugs and allow women with secondary breast cancer to continue to benefit from these treatments,” commented Gary Hendler, President & CEO Eisai EMEA and President, Eisai Oncology Global Business Unit.
Eribulin was first approved and launched in the UK in 2011 and Marketing Authorisation Approval was extended for earlier use in advanced breast cancer from the European Commission on 3 July 2014. Eribulin is currently approved in more than 55 countries around the world including all of the European Union, Canada, United States, Russia, Switzerland, South Korea, Japan and Singapore.
1. SPC Halaven (updated June 2014). Available at: http://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/medicine/24382/SPC/Halaven+0.44+mg+ml+solution+for+injection Accessed: January 2015
Source: Eisai Co., Ltd