- The National Institute for Health and Care Services (NICE) has rejected Celgene's Abraxane, saying that it is not as effective as and more expensive than standard therapy.
- Abraxane is a novel formulation of paclitaxel that has shown superior efficacy versus gemcitabane alone, but not againt Folfirinox -- a combination of five treatment agents which is currently first-line therapy.
- Abraxane's side-effect profile is also problematic.
Based on estimates, the cost of one quality adjusted life year gained for Abraxane combined with gemcitabane versus gemcitabane alone is $126,563 per year, which far exceeds what National Health Services considers cost-effective: $80,000 per year in the most extreme circumstances.
Celgene has appealed the decision and is requesting that NICE reconsider its position, especially considering the fact that patients in Wales have full access to Abraxane since it is recommended in that market. This is just the latest in a series of disappointments for long-term pancreatic cancer treatment.