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NICE rejects multiple sclerosis treatment


Health campaigners have expressed disappointment after the medicines watchdog rejected the first pill to treat multiple sclerosis.

The MS Society urged NICE and drug firm Novartis to work together so Gilenya (also called fingolimod) can be re-appraised.

In draft guidance that is subject to consultation, NICE rejected the drug due to “uncertainties” over its effectiveness, a lack of appropriate data and concerns over cost effectiveness.

It said it was unclear how much the drug would help the specific group of people for whom it was licensed - adults with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) who experienced at least one relapse a year despite being treated with beta interferon drugs.

Another group of patients suitable for the drug were those with rapidly evolving severe RRMS, who experience two or more disabling relapses regardless of their treatment.

Professor Carole Longson, director of the health technology evaluation centre at NICE, said: “While it’s important that people with multiple sclerosis have treatment options, Nice has to ensure that the NHS provides treatments that bring benefits that are value for money.

“Unfortunately our independent committee wasn’t given sufficient evidence to show that fingolimod could reduce relapses considerably better than the other treatments currently being used.”

Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the MS Society, said: “We’re concerned at how this decision has been reached and now strongly encourage NICE and Novartis to work together to look at how the treatment can be better re-considered and evaluated.”


Readers' comments (2)

  • As usual, money is their God. Shame on NICE! Talk to people with MS, ask them how it is to live with the unpredictability of the condition and the fear of future disability. Any researched treatment that holds some hope of improvement to the lives of people with MS has got to be given a chance!

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  • looks like nice have too much power. why is it called nice and referred to as a centre of excellence when it is such crap. doctors should be making these decisions with their patients not some remote bureaucratic organisation who has nothing to do with the case!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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