Nice approves MS drugs following price reduction

Alkermes and Biogen submit NDA for MS treatment in US
Credit: Sebastian Kaulitzki

Three drugs are now being recommending by the UK’s NICE for treating people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis after their prices were reduced.

Cuts to the prices of Copaxone, Avonex and Rebif has meant NICE is now able to recommend them as cost effective options. Its previous draft guidance recommended only Extavia.

Stakeholders commented during NICE’s consultation to say that people with relapsing-remitting MS need more treatment options.

Meindert Boysen, Director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE, said: “This is good news for people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. We are grateful that the companies have been able to agree reductions to the NHS prices of these drugs so they can be made routinely available and ensure that people continue to benefit from a choice of treatment.”

MS is a chronic, lifelong and disabling condition affecting the brain and spinal cord. It is estimated that around 116,000 people in England, of whom about 40,000 have relapsing-remitting MS. This is where people have phases of distinct symptoms, such as pain, vision problems or difficulty keeping balance, which then fade away.

Boysen added:  “Multiple sclerosis is lifelong condition that can have a negative impact on people’s ability to work, and to engage in social and family life. Having treatments that can delay the progression of the disease is important to help patients get back to their normal lives.”