The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) invited the company that manufactures ramucirumab (Cyramza®, Eli Lilly and Company) to submit evidence of the clinical and cost effectiveness of the drug administered alone (monotherapy) or with paclitaxel (combination therapy) for treating adults with advanced gastric cancer or gastro-oesophageal junction (GC/GOJ) adenocarcinoma that were previously treated with chemotherapy, as part of the Institute’s single technology appraisal (STA) process. Kleijnen Systematic Reviews Ltd (KSR), in collaboration with Erasmus University Rotterdam, was commissioned to act as the Evidence Review Group (ERG). This paper describes the company’s submission, the ERG review, and NICE’s subsequent decisions. Clinical effectiveness evidence for ramucirumab monotherapy (RAM), compared with best supportive care (BSC), was based on data from the REGARD trial. Clinical effectiveness evidence for ramucirumab combination therapy (RAM + PAC), compared with paclitaxel monotherapy (PAC), was based on data from the RAINBOW trial. In addition, the company undertook a network meta-analysis (NMA) to compare RAM + PAC with BSC and docetaxel. Cost-effectiveness evidence of monotherapy and combination therapy relied on partitioned survival, cost-utility models. The base-case incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of the company was £188,640 (vs BSC) per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained for monotherapy and £118,209 (vs BSC) per QALY gained for combination therapy. The ERG assessment indicated that the modelling structure represented the course of the disease; however, a few errors were identified and some of the input parameters were challenged. The ERG provided a new base case, with ICERs (vs BSC) of £188,100 (monotherapy) per QALY gained and £129,400 (combination therapy) per QALY gained and conducted additional exploratory analyses. The NICE Appraisal Committee (AC), considered the company’s decision problem was in line with the NICE scope, with the exception of the choice of comparators for the combination therapy model. The most plausible ICER for ramucirumab monotherapy compared with BSC was £188,100 per QALY gained. The Committee considered that the ERG’s exploratory analysis in which RAM + PAC was compared with PAC by using the direct head-to-head data (including utilities) from the RAINBOW trial, provided the most plausible ICER (i.e. £408,200 per QALY gained) for ramucirumab combination therapy. The Committee concluded that end-of-life considerations cannot be applied for either case, since neither failed to offer an extension to life of at least 3 months. The company did not submit a patient access scheme (PAS). After consideration of the evidence, the Committee concluded that ramucirumab alone or with paclitaxel could not be considered a cost-effective use of National Health Service resources for treating advanced GC/GOJ patients that were previously treated with chemotherapy, and therefore its use could not be recommended. We might wonder if a complete STA process is necessary for treatments without a PAS, which are, according to the company’s submission, already associated with ICERs far above the currently accepted threshold in all (base-case, sensitivity and scenario) analyses.

This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Program (project number 14/177/03 STA),
Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM)

Büyükkaramikli, N., Blommestein, H., Riemsma, R., Armstrong, N., F.J. Clay (Fiona), Ross, J., … Al, M. (2017). Ramucirumab for Treating Advanced Gastric Cancer or Gastro-Oesophageal Junction Adenocarcinoma Previously Treated with Chemotherapy. PharmacoEconomics. doi:10.1007/s40273-017-0528-y