In devastating news for the WM community, ibrutinib failed to pass the second stage of reviews, after being rejected at the first stage earlier in the year. The drug has been available as a second-line treatment to WMers in England and Wales for the past two years. Anyone currently taking ibrutinib will be able to continue to do so, with the treatment being funded by Janssen, the company that make the drug.
Meanwhile, NICE has announced that a new drug called zanubrutinib was rejected for use as a second-line treatment. A second stage review is planned for the coming months, and there are signs that there are signs of optimism that zanubrutinib is not done yet. We look forward to seeing how Beigene, the company that produces the drug, responds at the second committee meeting.
Both drugs are known as BTK inhibitors. These new therapies provide potentially kinder alternatives than chemotherapy for people with WM. Ibrutinib has proven to be a valuable second-line treatment, significantly improving the lives of WMers, many of whom were unable to have a second round of chemotherapy.
“We’re hugely disappointed in both these decisions and know that many in our community will be feeling anxious about the prospect of losing this invaluable treatment option,” says Jane Nicholson, WMUK CEO. “We’re working hard with all parties to ensure WMers aren’t left behind. However, for the time being I want to reiterate that we’re here to support WMers, their friends and families.”
Jane will be holding two webinars for those that have questions about the decisions and what it means for WMers on Monday 9 May and Thursday 12 May.
We’ll continue to keep you up to date with any further developments.
Register for the webinars:
BTK inhibitor: what the decisions mean for the WM community – Monday 9 May – 12.00
BTK inhibitor: what the decisions mean for the WM community – Thursday 12 May – 20.00