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Johnson & Johnson : J&J Cancer Drug Zytiga Now Backed For Publicly Funded Use In UK

05/16/2012 | 05:11am US/Eastern

The U.K.'s health-care cost-effectiveness regulator Wednesday reversed an earlier decision and approved the publicly funded use of Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) prostate-cancer pill Zytiga, after the U.S. company cut its price further.

Also known as abiraterone, Zytiga removes the prostate cancer tumor's supply of testosterone, preventing it from growing further and potentially extending a patient's life by more than three months. The medicine was rejected for use in the U.K. in February on grounds its terms of use wouldn't offer value for money.

Andrew Dillon, chief executive of the U.K.'s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, or NICE, Wednesday said the manufacturer subsequently submitted fresh information, including a revised patient access scheme containing a deeper price discount to the National Health Service and more information about which patients would most benefit from its use and how many patients could receive the drug.

"These factors enabled the committee to revise its preliminary recommendation and now recommend the drug for use on the NHS," Dillon said in a statement. "It is an effective treatment, potentially extending life by more than three months, and it also allows patients to be treated at home as it can be taken orally."

Abiraterone costs GBP2,930 for a 30-day supply of 120 tablets. NICE didn't specify the size of the price cut offered by Johnson & Johnson.

Zytiga was approved by U.S. and European drug regulators last year. It is set to generate peak-year sales of $910 million.

-By Sten Stovall, Dow Jones Newswires; +44 207 842 9292; sten.stovall@dowjones.com

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