Commenting on today’s decision on olaparib for women with BRCA mutated ovarian cancer in further draft guidance from NICE, Professor Paul Workman, Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said: “We remain disappointed that women with ovarian cancer and mutations to their BRCA genes are still not being granted this world-first drug on the NHS. I'd urge NICE and the manufacturer to keep talking and do everything they can to make the drug available.
“It is at least positive that NICE is actively listening to evidence submitted through consultations, and seems to be looking for ways to make olaparib available. The latest announcement offers a glimmer of hope that some women with ovarian cancer will eventually get access to olaparib, which was underpinned by science conducted here at the ICR.
“But even if the latest ‘no’ from NICE is reversed for some women, olaparib would still only be available for women after several rounds of chemotherapy – meaning there will be many who miss out on its quality-of life-benefits earlier in the course of treatment, or do not access it at all.
“Olaparib, a PARP inhibitor, is the first cancer drug to be approved that is directed against an inherited genetic mutation, and the difficulty in getting it approved underlines the need for changes to the way NICE appraises innovative drugs.”