UK Rebuffs Advanced Melanoma Drug

Yervoy rejected by National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) A Bristol-Myers Squibb medication that's approved in the United States and Europe for treating advanced melanoma, has been rejected by the British agency similar to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, NICE, has recommended that Yervoy (ipilimumab) not be used by the nation's publicly funded health system - National Health Service - due to concerns about the drugs long-term benefits, its side effects and the cost of the drug.

"Drug that treats advanced melanoma - Yervoy - has been rejected by UK health agency."

This draft guidance will be reviewed until November 4, 2011 before further binding decisions are made.

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Just over 70,000 cases are diagnosed in the United States each year. Advanced melanoma describes the condition after it has spread to other parts of the body.

NICE chief executive, Andrew Dillon, said in a statement that the drug can't be considered a cost-effective choice. Standard therapy with the drug in the U.S. runs $120,000.

Bristol-Myers spokesman says the company plans to provide the agency with more evidence regarding the drug's efficacy and cost effectiveness.

Advanced melanoma patients currently have limited treatment options.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
October 14, 2011
Last Updated:
October 15, 2011