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NICE questions new diabetes drug’s cost effectiveness  

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The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has called for more evidence from Boehringer Ingelheim on its drug empagliflozin for treating type 2 diabetes.

Empagliflozin (Jardiance) is an oral, once-daily medication belonging to a class of drugs called sodium glucose co-transporter (SGLT-2) inhibitors.

It works by blocking the reabsorption of glucose in the kidneys, which is instead passed out of the body in the urine.

In latest draft guidance, NICE said it could not recommend the drug for use on the NHS without more evidence that it would be a cost-effective treatment.  

Professor Carole Longson, director of the NICE Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, said it was “important to have a varied arsenal” to tackle diabetes.

“New treatments, like empagliflozin, will help clinicians give people with type 2 diabetes the right treatment,” she said.

Professor Carole Longson

Professor Carole Longson

“There is good evidence which shows that empagliflozin is clinically effective,” she said. “But we need more information to demonstrate that it is cost-effective when compared with other treatments the NHS already provides.

“The [NICE] committee has requested more information to help it decide whether empagliflozin is a cost-effective use of NHS resources,” she added.

According to the company’s submission to NICE, the price of empagliflozin is £36.59 per pack of 28 tablets for both 10 mg and 25 mg doses. The annual cost is estimated to be £470.30.

The recommended starting dosage is 10 mg once daily for both monotherapy and as an add-on combination therapy with other glucose lowering medicinal products including insulin.

The draft guidance will be available on the NICE website for consultation from 27 August.

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