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Published on 1 June 2010

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NICE rejects Novartis asthma drug


Novartis’s asthma drug Xolair will not be made available on the NHS after regulators ruled it was too expensive for the gain delivered.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) said the product, also known as omalizumab, provided “little additional benefit over existing drugs for the treatment of severe persistent allergic asthma in most children aged 6-11.”

NICE chief executive Andrew Dillon explained that clinical trials had shown no reduction in hospitalisation rates, accident and emergency visits, symptom-free days and nights, severe exacerbations or health-related quality of life.

“Considering the very limited benefits omalizumab offers in this age group, the price the NHS is being asked to pay for omalizumab is too high,” he said.

The rejection is a blow for Novartis and Roche – the joint marketeers of Xolair – who had hoped to widen its patient group to include children.

Copyright Press Association 2010

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