The government said it would grant insurance benefit to Pfizer’s leukemia treatment Besponsa (ingredient: inotuzumab ozogamicin).
The drug is reimbursable when indicated for a secondary or tertiary remission induction therapy in adults with relapsed or refractory B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
The Ministry of Health and Welfare on Wednesday held a meeting of the Health Insurance Policy Deliberation Committee and decided on the revision of the list of reimbursable medicines and reimbursement rate caps. The revised list will be effective from Oct. 1.
The government set the maximum reimbursement for Besponsa at 11,824,200 won ($9,856) per bottle.
The authorities decided to grant Besponsa’s reimbursement, considering that the administration cost per treatment period (95 million won) was cheaper than the alternative medicine (Blincyto Inj., 120 million won). The Korean Society of Hematology and the Korean Cancer Study Group have also suggested Besponsa’s insurance benefit because relapsed or refractory ALL tends to exacerbate rapidly.
Besponsa proved an improved therapeutic effect in the INO-VATE ALL trial, which compared the efficacy with that of the existing chemotherapy.
The trial results showed that complete remission (CR) or complete remission with incomplete blood count recovery (CRi) in the Besponsa group was 80.7 percent, higher than 29.4 percent of the conventional chemotherapy group. The Besponsa group achieved 48 percent hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), versus 22 percent in the chemotherapy group.
“Besponsa helps patients receive hematopoietic stem cell transplantation by more than doubling the rate of complete remission compared to the conventional chemotherapy,” an official at Pfizer Korea said. “The reimbursement for Besponsa is meaningful because more patients with relapsed or refractory ALL patients can receive better treatment.”
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