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NICE reveals change of heart over psoriasis drug

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The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has provisionally approved a new psoriasis treatment, having previously rejected it on grounds of cost.

NICE has today published draft guidance backing apremilast (Otezla) as an option for treating the skin condition psoriasis.

After previously turned it down in final guidance in November 2015, NICE conducted a rapid review after its manufacturer submitted a patient access scheme to make it more affordable for the NHS.

As a result, NICE is now recommending apremilast for treating severe chronic plaque psoriasis that has not responded to systemic therapy, or systemic therapy is contraindicated or not tolerated.

However, it is dependent on Celgene providing the product with the discount agreed in the patient access scheme.

The level of the NHS discount from the list price is commercial in confidence, noted NICE.

Apremilast normally costs £265.18 for a 14-day treatment initiation pack (4×10mg, 4×20mg and 19×30mg) and £550.00 for a 28-day pack (56×30mg).

Taken orally twice a day, apremilast is thought by clinicians to be a preferred treatment option for those patients who do not wish to receive alternative treatments by injection.

Consultees are now able to comment on the preliminary recommendations until 24 August.

Until final guidance is issued, NHS organisations should make decisions locally on the funding of specific treatments.

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