Novartis’ drug will not routinely be available on the UK health service

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), which evaluates treatments based on cost effectiveness, has confirmed that patients with advanced breast cancer will not be prescribed the Novartis drug Afinitor (everolimus). The decision comes despite Novartis offering the drug at an undisclosed discount. The body has already ruled against use of the drug for patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma and the Scottish Medicines Consortium has also rejected this use of the drug.

This is another blow for Novartis and for Afinitor after the firm announced earlier in the month that the drug failed to perform in a liver cancer trial. While Afinitor has been a success in terms of sales, adding new indications is key to Novartis’ growth strategy for the drug. The Swiss drug maker is currently testing the drug against gastrointestinal and lung tumours, HER2-positive breast cancer, lymphoma and tuberous sclerosis complex.