AstraZeneca's breast cancer drug Faslodex has been rejected for use on Britain's state health service, dealing a blow to a product that has been on the market in Europe since 2004.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) said Thursday in its final appraisal that it had not found any evidence Faslodex worked significantly better than existing treatments, so its widespread use would not be a good use of resources.
AstraZeneca had estimated Faslodex, an injection, could extend life when compared to using the company's own aromatase inhibitor tablets Arimidex or Novartis's Femara, but NICE found this to be considerably uncertain.
The first month of Faslodex treatment costs 1,044.82 pounds, on account of the additional loading dose, and 522.41 pounds a month thereafter, according to NICE.
A month's supply of anastrozole, the active ingredient in Arimidex, which is now off patent, costs just 5.99 pounds and Femara is priced at 84.86 pounds.
Faslodex is designed for postmenopausal women who have oestrogen-receptor-positive advanced breast cancer and who have already received anti-oestrogen therapy, such as tamoxifen.
AstraZeneca said Faslodex was already reimbursed in over 50 markets around the world and the company would continue to work with local health authorities in Britain for continued access to the medicine, where possible.
The company had been hoping for a change of heart after NICE reached a preliminary decision against Faslodex in August.
Worldwide sales of Faslodex totalled $397 million (250 million pounds) in the first nine months of 2011.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Mike Nesbit)