Costly leukemia pill wins UK green light after price cut

LONDON (Reuters) - A costly blood cancer pill sold in Europe by Johnson & Johnson will be made routinely available to certain patients in Britain with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, after the U.S. company agreed to cut the price.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) said on Friday the discount offered by J&J meant it could now recommend Imbruvica as offering value for money to the state-run health service.

The move comes as NICE reappraises all drugs covered by the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF), which was overhauled earlier this year.

Other companies including Novartis, Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Eisai have also offered discounts to ensure drugs previously covered by the CDF are used routinely on the National Health Service (NHS).

The list price for a year’s supply of Imbruvica is more than 55,000 pounds ($68,000) per patient. The size of the NHS discount is being kept confidential.

Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Adrian Croft