NICE Backs Value of Thalidomide, Bortezomib for Multiple Myeloma

August 2011, Vol 2, No 5 - Value Propositions


In July, the United Kingdom’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) approved the use of thalidomide (Thalomid) for the first-line treatment of multiple myeloma in patients in whom high-dose chemotherapy with stem-cell transplantation is deemed inappropriate.

At the same time, NICE also approved bortezomib (Velcade) in combination with an alkylating agent and a corticosteroid for first-line treatment of multiple myeloma when high-dose chemotherapy with stem-cell transplantation is considered inappropriate and the patient cannot tolerate or has contraindications to thalidomide.

Carole Longson, the Director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE, said in a statement regarding the approval, “We are delighted to be able to recommend these 2 new treatment options for people with this condition.” Noting that almost 4000 cases of multiple myeloma are diagnosed every year in the United Kingdom, she added that “there is currently no cure for the disease, only treatments to stop the progress of the condition and help relieve symptoms. Thalidomide and bortezomib regimens have been shown to be more effective at delaying disease progression and improving patients’ life expectancy than the current treatment of an alkylating agent and corticosteroid alone.”

These decisions by NICE indicate that these 2 treatment regimens have been found cost-effective for these indications.