NICE approves CDF drugs for routine NHS use

24 August 2016  •  Author: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) issued final guidance recommending two drugs for routine use within the NHS:

  • Bosutinib (Bosulif, Pfizer) for treating some patients with leukaemia
  • Pemetrexed (Alimta, Eli Lilly) for treating some patients with lung cancer

NHS two cdf pills

Both of these drugs were previously available on the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF).

Following the decision to reform the CDF, NICE has been assessing the cost and clinical effectiveness of drugs currently in the old CDF.

Discounted prices

Both companies submitted additional cost analyses and offered the NHS a discounted price for their drugs as part of this reappraisal process, which meant that both drugs are now considered value for money.

Professor Carole Longson, Director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE, said, “It’s great to see that companies are engaging with our CDF reconsideration process in a constructive way, resulting in these positive recommendations. Patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia and lung cancer will now be reassured that these drugs are available for routine NHS use.”

“This is good news. As these drugs move into routine budgets, CDF funding can be freed up for other new and innovative cancer treatments.”

The NHS now has a legal obligation to make both drugs available to all eligible people who need it, if they and their doctor agree it is the right treatment.


Bosutinib is used to treat chronic myeloid leukaemia in people who have a genetic abnormality known as the Philadelphia chromosome which causes the overproduction of white blood cells. Bosutinib is only recommended when other treatments no longer work or are otherwise inappropriate.

Bosutinib costs around £45,000 per patient a year at its undiscounted price.

NICE originally published guidance not recommending bosutinib in 2013.


NICE already recommends pemetrexed as maintenance treatment for some people with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer. This new recommendation means that pemetrexed will now be routinely available as a maintenance treatment for a broader group of patients.

At its undiscounted price, pemetrexed costs around £11,500 per patient.

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