The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has said it is standing by its decision not to approve the arthritis treatment Orencia (abatacept) for use on the NHS.
The organisation made the ruling back in August, and has now confirmed to the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) that it will not reconsider it for the treatment of moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Around 400,000 people in the UK have rheumatoid arthritis, of which 10% (40,000) have a severe form of the disease.
They can be offered a class of drugs called anti-TNFs, but around 30% of people will not see any benefit from these.
But the NRAS said its figures show that people who fail on anti-TNFs can see positive results from drugs such as Orencia.
Frank Pasqualone, European vice president of Bristol-Myers Squibb, which makes Orencia, said the company is “disappointed” with the decision.
He added: “Orencia has been shown to be an effective option for patients with severe RA for whom treatment with other biologic therapies is not working.
“The effect of this NICE ruling would be to deny these patients access to Orencia, a proven treatment whose clinical value NICE itself recognises. We will be appealing against this decision.”
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