The health watchdog has rejected an appeal to offer a new drug to help treat arthritis in the NHS because it is not cost effective.
The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) backed evidence submitted by drugs manufacturer Bristol-Myers Squibb to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) that some 3,585 patients suffering from moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis in the UK would be eligible for treatment with abatacept (Orencia).
Ailsa Bosworth, chief executive of NRAS, said: “We are bitterly disappointed that Nice has ignored our appeals to approve the use of abatacept for people with severe rheumatoid arthritis, a therapy that could really make a difference to their lives.
“In rejecting our appeals they have condemned people with severe rheumatoid arthritis, who have already failed on other therapies, to a lifetime of misery.”
She continued: “We believe this is a perverse and very short sighted decision by NICE.
“Palliative care and the burden of ongoing disability associated with severe rheumatoid arthritis will result in much greater costs for the NHS than a clinically proven treatment which can make a significant difference to the quality of life of people with severe rheumatoid arthritis.”
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