The clinical trials compare platinum-based chemotherapy combined with Keytruda or Tecentriq to platinum-based chemotherapy alone. Both trials enrolled a third arm of monotherapy with Keytruda or Tecentriq to compare to platinum-based chemotherapy alone. The monotherapy arms remain open only to patients whose tumors have PD-L1 high status. The combination arms and the chemotherapy arms of both studies also remain open. The FDA is reviewing the findings of the ongoing clinical trials and will communicate new information as necessary.
Both Keytruda and Tecentriq are currently approved under accelerated approval for the treatment of locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma patients who are not eligible for cisplatin-containing chemotherapy, irrespective of PD-L1 status. Patients taking Keytruda or Tecentriq for other approved uses should continue to take their medication as directed by their healthcare professional.
Healthcare professionals should be aware that the populations enrolled in the ongoing clinical trials were eligible for platinum-containing chemotherapy, and therefore differ from those enrolled in the trials that led to the accelerated approvals of both Keytruda and Tecentriq in the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma who are not eligible for cisplatin-containing chemotherapy. FDA recommends providers select patients for the treatment of locally advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer using the criteria described in Section 14 of each label. These criteria supported the approvals for Keytruda and Tecentriq for initial monotherapy in cisplatin-ineligible patients. Keytruda and Tecentriq are also currently approved by the FDA for the treatment of multiple types of other cancers.
Patients should talk to their doctor if they have questions or concerns about either drug.
Health care professionals and patients are encouraged to report any adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products and other similar products to FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program.
Keytruda Prescribing Information
Tecentriq Prescribing Information
Access FDA announcement.
On May 21, 2018, the Food and Drug Administration approved avatrombopag (Doptelet, AkaRx Inc.) for thrombocytopenia in adults with chronic liver disease scheduled to undergo a procedure.
Read the full FDA announcement here.
On May 15, 2018, the Food and Drug Administration approved epoetin alfa-epbx (Retacrit, Hospira Inc.) as a biosimilar to epoetin alfa (Epogen/Procrit, Amgen Inc.) for the treatment of anemia due to chronic kidney disease (CKD) in patients on dialysis and not on dialysis, use of zidovudine in patients with HIV infection, and the effects of concomitant myelosuppressive chemotherapy. It is also approved for the reduction of allogeneic red blood cell transfusions in patients undergoing elective, noncardiac, nonvascular surgery.
Read the FDA announcement here.
On May 14, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a formal request for information (RFI) regarding the Trump Administration’s proposed drug pricing blueprint. HHS seeks “all suggestions to improve the affordability and accessibility of prescription drugs, including reflections and answers to questions not specifically asked.” Questions specifically posed by HHS are:
ACCC will be submitting comments, but we also encourage our member programs to weigh in on this important document. Comments must be submitted on or before July 15, 2018. To submit electronically, go to http://www.regulations.gov.
On May 8, 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the launch of its first Rural Health Strategy. The strategy is intended to address access to quality, affordable healthcare in rural communities, the viability of rural hospitals, and the effects of CMS rules and regulations on healthcare in rural areas.
Read the full Rural Health Strategy here, and read the fact sheet here.
On May 7, 2018, the Food and Drug Administration approved daratumumab (Darzalex) in combination with bortezomib (Velcade), melphalan, and prednisone (VMP) for the treatment of patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma (MM) who are ineligible for autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT).
Read the Johnson & Johnson press release here.
On May 4, 2018, the Food and Drug Administration approved dabrafenib (Tafinlar, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.) and trametinib (Mekinist, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.), administered together, for the treatment of anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) that cannot be removed by surgery or has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic), and has a type of abnormal gene, BRAF V600E (BRAF V600E mutation-positive).
Read the full FDA announcement here.