Thousands of adults with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia to benefit from new treatment option

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia CLL

18th January 2019

Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is the most common form of leukaemia, with approximately 3,500 new cases diagnosed each year in the UK.

It is estimated that around 1,000 people will be eligible for venetoclax in the first year and will be able to receive the treatment through the NHS.

The most common first line treatment for CLL is chemotherapy and there are limited options after relapse. Venetoclax, also known as Venclyxto and manufactured by AbbVie, will be offered in combination with rituximab to adults with relapsed or refractory CLL who have received at least one prior therapy.

People will be able to access venetoclax plus rituximab from today, just four months after marketing authorisation was granted in October 2018. Since April 2016 new arrangements with the Cancer Drugs Fund mean NICE aims to publish final guidance within 90 days of licence.

Meindert Boysen, director of NICE’s Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, said: “We are very pleased to announce another treatment option for people with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukaemia will be available on the NHS.

“This is exciting and very important to people with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukaemia where there are limited treatment options. I urge companies to seize opportunities for earlier engagement as part of our new appraisal process, so we can support access to these kind of treatments at an even faster rate.”

Venetoclax is an oral treatment taken once a day. The dose is gradually increased from 20mg to 400mg in the first 5 weeks and is given in combination for a maximum of 2 years. Rituximab is administered after the person has had 400mg of venetoclax for 7 days. 

The list price for a 112-pack of 100mg venetoclax tablets is £4,789.47 however the treatment is available to the NHS at a discounted price through a confidential commercial arrangement.

Credit: NICE website