MS sufferers have new drug hope by quango
The first pill for MS sufferers is set to be approved for use on the NHS.The National Institute for Curbing Expendtiture (NICE) has overturned previous draft guidance on the drug Fingolimod after the price was discounted and has now ruled that a proportion of people with multiple sclerosis should be treated with it.
MS is a neurological condition that can cause symptoms from dizziness and fatigue to tremors, memory and speech problems. Some patients lose mobility and are wheelchair-bound.
It is often characterised by periods of stability followed be relapses.
Nice has recommended in new draft guidance that people with highly active relapsing remitting MS be treated with fingolimod, also known as Gilenya, made by Novartis.
Studies have shown it can reduce relapses by between 50 and 60 per cent.
It costs around £20,000 per patient per year and thousands of people may benefit.
The qualify patients will have to have unchanged or increased relapse rate or ongoing severe relapses compared to the previous year, despite them taking other drugs such as beta interferons.
Professor Carole Longson, Director of the Health Technology Evaluation Centre at NICE said: “The latest draft guidance from our committee recommends the NHS-use of fingolimod for a specific group of adults who have highly active relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.
“Following new information provided during the consultation, the analyses show that for these people, treatment with fingolimod will be a cost effective option for the NHS in this group of people with multiple sclerosis, if Novartis provides the drug at a discounted price, as proposed in its patient access scheme.
“We have published the latest version of our draft guidance on our website so that interested parties can highlight any factual errors or appeal against our final draft recommendations.”
In MS the body’s own immune system attacks the protective coating around nerve fibres which carry signals between the brain and the rest of the body.
The drug prevents the immune cells from attacking the nerve coating.
The Scottish equivalent of Nice, the Scottish Medicines Consortium has not approved the drug.
Nick Rijke, Director of Policy & Research at the MS Society, said: “We are delighted; this decision signifies a major step forward in the treatment of this devastating condition.
“Gilenya has been found to be highly effective in trials and taking a daily tablet will come as welcome relief from frequent, often unpleasant, injections.
“Making this new treatment available will increase patient choice for thousands of people with MS across England and Wales, but we’re deeply disappointed by the SMC’s decision in Scotland – and urge them to reconsider.”
Tags: Doctors, Health Professionals, Multiple Sclerosis, NICE blight, preventable crisis, Quangos