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Drug pricing

MS drug approved by NICE after NHS renegotiates price

A new drug to treat some adults with multiple sclerosis (MS) is now being recommended for use by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) after the NHS renegotiated a lower price with the manufacturer Roche.

On 9 May 2019, NICE declared that it was reversing its previous draft guidance decision not to recommend ocrelizumab (marketed as Ocrevus) for treating primary progressive MS (PPMS) in adults.

Meindert Boysen, director of NICE’s centre for health technology evaluation, said: “Our earlier draft guidance acknowledged that ocrelizumab represents an important development in the treatment of a condition for which there is a large unmet need. Unfortunately we couldn’t recommend it at the price offered at that time because it did not represent a cost-effective use of limited NHS resources.

“We are … pleased that NHS England and the company have been able to reach an agreement that will see this important new treatment made available to thousands of people with this form of MS.”

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, described the deal struck with Roche as “innovative”, attributing its success to a flexible and thorough negotiation process.

Around 14% of the 90,000 people in England with MS have the PPMS form.

Roche estimates that around 2,700 people could now be eligible for ocrelizumab, which is administered as an infusion every six months. The average full price cost per patient per year is £19,160.

Details of the price deal have been kept confidential.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206521

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