1. ITV Report

Life-prolonging leukaemia drug rejected by health body to be made available on the NHS

The drug was trialled by patients in the University of Wales in Cardiff. Photo: PA

A life-prolonging leukaemia drug that has been trialled in Cardiff is to be made available on the NHS after the manufacturer Roche agreed to lower the price.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) previously ruled in October that Obinutuzumab should not be made widely available for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) patients because it was too expensive.

But in draft guidance published today, the health body has reversed its decision on the grounds that the drug, also known as Gazyvaro, is offered at a reduced price.

It follows weeks of discussions between the Department of Health and Roche, which said the size of the newly-agreed discount is to be kept confidential.

The Health body NICE had previously rejected the drug. Credit: PA

We are very pleased that Nice has reversed its initial decision on Gazyvaro which has shown, in trials, to provide a significant survival advantage over the standard therapy available to patients with this devastating disease.

The priority now is to ensure the translation of this positive draft decision into concrete final guidance to ensure that patients are able to access the drug on the NHS as soon as possible.

– Jayson Dallas, Manager at Roche UK

Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia is the most common type of adult leukaemia in the UK, with more than 3,000 people diagnosed each year.

The manufacturer, Roche, said the drug can "reduce the risk of cancer worsening or death by up to 86% "when used with chemotherapy, compared to having chemotherapy alone, for patients with CLL."

The draft guidance will be open for consultation in Wales and England from today.