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Sep 10, 2007
 |  BioCentury  |  Regulation

NICE's Velcade gotcha

Although the U.K.'s NICE has relented to provision of Velcade bortezomib for multiple myeloma patients under its pay-for-performance agreement with Janssen-Cilag Ltd., it has found another way to limit reimbursement for the drug that patient groups say amounts to moving the goalposts.

NICE stuck by its plan to recommend a full course of eight cycles of Velcade only if patients show a complete or partial response after four cycles, with the pharma company rebating payments for patients who fail treatment.

However, the agency surprised everyone by recommending the drug's use only after a patient's first relapse, not after subsequent relapses.

NICE's original decision in October 2006 was to recommend against use of Velcade by the National Health Service. But an appeal panel then told NICE's appraisal committee to reconsider whether some MM patients should get access to the drug (see BioCentury, April 2).

NICE then proposed that patients who had relapsed after chemotherapy be given Velcade monotherapy and that those who show a CR or PR after...

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