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UK price watchdog rejects Roche's breast cancer drug in draft guidance

The U.K. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence did not recommend Roche Holding AG's Perjeta in combination with Herceptin and chemotherapy for use under the National Health Service to treat certain breast cancer patients.

Perjeta, or pertuzumab, in combination with Roche's cancer drug Herceptin and chemotherapy, is intended to treat HER2-positive early stage breast cancer in patients at high risk of the cancer returning after surgery.

Patients with HER2-positive breast cancer test positive for the HER2 protein, which promotes the growth of cancer cells.

The price watchdog said in a draft guidance that it does not recommend the treatment because results from a study showed that adding Perjeta in combination with Herceptin and chemotherapy showed only a small difference in the proportion of people who lived while remaining free of invasive disease.

The institute also noted that the impact of Perjeta on overall survival is unknown because "data for this outcome are immature." It also said that the cost estimate for Perjeta is much higher than the range it normally considers to be a cost-effective use of NHS resources.