Pfizer lung cancer pill rejected by UK cost agency

LONDON, March 27 Tue Mar 26, 2013 8:01pm EDT

LONDON, March 27 (Reuters) - Pfizer's new lung cancer pill Xalkori is too expensive to be worth using on Britain's state health service, the country's health cost watchdog said on Wednesday.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) said the drug, which works by blocking enzymes that can stimulate tumour growth, could not be considered a cost-effective use of National Health Service resources.

The agency's draft guidance on the drug - which costs 4,689 pounds ($7,100) for a 30-day supply - is now open for consultation.

Xalkori won conditional approval from European health regulators last October, following a green light in the United States in 2011.

It is designed to be used along with a companion diagnostic to test for a gene mutation known as ALK, which occurs in about 4 percent of patients with non-small cell lung cancer, many of them non-smokers.