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Daily capsule for patients with skin cancer

Patients with a rare form of skin cancer could now benefit from first-of-a-kind once daily capsule

Erivedge® (vismodegib), a new medicine that has been shown to help patients with a disfiguring and potentially life-threatening form of skin cancer, is now registered for use in New Zealand.

Erivedge is a first-in-class Hedgehog Pathway Inhibitor that helps shrink disfiguring or potentially life-threatening lesions in advanced skin cancer

AUCKLAND – 23 April 2014: From today, adult New Zealanders with metastatic basal cell carcinoma (mBCC) or locally advanced BCC (laBCC) where treatment with surgery or radiotherapy is inappropriate, could benefit from Erivedge®. 1 This makes Erivedge, a capsule taken once daily, the only registered medicine for advanced BCC (aBCC, is comprised of mBCC and laBCC) fulfilling an unmet medical need in this group of patients.1

BCC is the most common type of skin cancer in the world. 2 It is estimated that in 2006 there were 43,900 New Zealanders diagnosed with BCC and that this number is growing year on year.

BCC forms the majority (65% - 75%) of non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC). In 2006, NMSC was estimated to have incurred NZ$51.4 million in healthcare costs (excluding GST) and NZ$6.7 million in lost production.

BCC is considered curable when confined to the skin.

However, in some cases the disease will invade surrounding tissue (locally advanced) or spread to other parts of the body (metastatic BCC) in a manner that cannot be effectively treated with surgery or radiation.
Dr Richard Martin, Cutaneous Surgical Oncologist, says that advanced basal cell carcinoma can be highly disfiguring and can significantly impact quality of life.

“Until now, there have not been any active treatment options available for patients who are not appropriate for surgery or radiotherapy. Erivedge, which has been shown to shrink tumours, addresses this unmet need and is a welcome new treatment option for patients with advanced BCC,” said Dr Martin.

An independent review facility assessment found that Erivedge shrank visible lesions in 43 percent (27/63) of patients with locally advanced BCC inappropriate for surgery or radiotherapy and shrank tumours in 30 percent (10/33) of those with metastatic BCC.

An application for funding will be submitted to PHARMAC in due course. In the interim, Erivedge will be available for private purchase .


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