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Published on 12 March 2008

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Costs watchdog probes pulmonary hypertension drugs


The UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is assessing whether epoprostenol and iloprost are too expensive for treating pulmonary hypertension in children.

The issue has been highlighted by the case of two-year-old pulmonary hypertension patient Oliver Sherwood.

Oliver takes Viagra® (sildenafil) four times a day, has oxygen on standby and cannot walk for more than a few steps. He will need to move on to more powerful drugs, such as epoprostenol and iloprost, as he grows up.

These treatments are indicated for adults.

NICE clinical director Peter Littlejohns said: “Our review of the evidence suggests sildenafil is both clinically and cost-effective in treating pulmonary arterial hypertension in adults.

“The committee has also recommended the use of bosentan and sitaxentan for patients who are unable to take sildenafil, or where sildenafil has not been effective.

“The committee has also concluded that the costs of epoprostenol and iloprost relative to their clinical benefits are significantly higher than would be considered a cost-effective use of NHS resources.”

Copyright © PA Business 2008


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