Arthritis Drug Orencia, Ruled Too Expensive by NICE

April 26, 2008 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

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The arthritis drug Orencia has been approved as the treatment when all other treatments fail.

In the UK, after being ruled not cost effective The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), is bad news to all the people there (who has been under treatment with Orencia) with aggressive rheumatoid arthritis.

Such a ruling went down despite appeals by The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) and Bristol-Myers Squibb — maker of Orencia (abatacept).

Around 400,000 people in Britain have rheumatoid arthritis. About 10 per cent have a severe form.

They can be offered a class of drugs called anti-TNFs but around 30 per cent of patients derive no benefit.

The drug’s manufacturer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, submitted evidence to Nice showing that around 3,585 patients in Britain would be eligible for treatment with abatacept.

Ailsa Bosworth, the chief executive of NRAS, said: “We are bitterly disappointed that Nice has ignored our appeals to approve the use of abatacept for people with severe rheumatoid arthritis, a therapy that could really make a difference to their lives.

“They have condemned people with severe rheumatoid arthritis, who have already failed on other therapies, to a lifetime of misery.”
Patients traditionally receive 13 doses of the drug per year.

What now for these patients who was ‘living” on Orencia? According to reports, these patients will be condemned to a life of misery!

Is that really the case…there must be other alternative…like other drugs with the same effect as Orencia? Or patients can even get the said drug from other countries, if such a thing is possible in the UK. I’m saying…there’s gotta be a loop hole in order to get around this dilemma.

Figures from Bristol-Myers Squibb show that an average dose would cost the NHS £718 or £9,334 a year. The company has said this is similar to the cost of anti-TNF drugs.

Andrew Dillon, the chief executive of Nice, said an independent appraisal committee had found that abatacept “does not represent a good use of NHS resources”.

He added that the committee recommended that patients receiving the drug should have the option to continue therapy until they and their clinicians consider it appropriate to stop.

Orencia has been approved for moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis.

ORENCIA works in a fundamentally different way than any other rheumatoid arthritis treatment. ORENCIA works early in the RA inflammatory process at the T-cell level and can reduce the activation of T cells, which reduces the activation of other cells in the RA inflammatory process.

Find out more about Orencia.

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