NHS England has struck a deal with Novartis to fund a canakinumab, a life-changing fever, headache and painkilling drug for paediatric patients.
Periodic fever syndromes (PFS) are a group of rare genetic conditions where the person’s immune system overreacts, resulting in frequent inflammation ‘flares’, involving chest or joint pains, headaches, mouth ulcers and skin rash.
Although these syndromes only affect a small number of patients, they typically suffer in silence. But now the NHS has confirmed it has struck a deal for the drug, which modifies the immune system, turning off the inflammation process, significantly reducing the number of ‘flares’ children and adults experience.
The deal has been agreed following NHS negotiations with Novartis as part of a major programme to ramp up access to innovative treatments, while freeing up funding for frontline patient care through smarter procurement.
The agreement brings into the NHS a more effective, convenient drug with fewer side effects than existing treatments.
“Some illnesses affect a small number in a big way, which is why the NHS is increasingly bringing innovative, specialised and targeted treatments to people who need them,” said Sir Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England.
“This latest new treatment has the potential to significantly improve the lives of children who bear the burden of bouts of crippling pain which blights lives and puts strain on families.
“It’s the latest in a line of major deals NHS England has successfully negotiated, which show that when drug companies play ball with the NHS, taxpayers get a fair deal and patients get cutting-edge treatments.”
There are around 168 patients in England with these diseases, both children and adults, and around 80% of these would be prescribed canakinumab.
The discounted price of canakinumab has not been disclosed.