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UK's cost agency rebuffs Bristol arthritis drug

Wed, 30th Mar 2011 01:16


LONDON, March 30 (Reuters) - Britain's healthcare cost watchdog NICE has r
ecommended against using Bristol-Myers Squibb's rheumatoid arthritis drug Orencia on the state health service as a second-line treatment.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) said on Wednesday it did not support giving the biotech drug to rheumatoid arthritis patients whose disease has responded inadequately to conventional non-biological medicines.

NICE already recommends four other biotech drugs for such second-line use.

Orencia is among a selection of medicines that can be considered later on if patients fail to respond adequately to one of a class of biological therapies known as tumour necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors.

The latest draft guidance on Orencia's second-line use is subject to consultation.

NICE's decisions are often watched by governments around the world who increasingly have to weigh the benefits of modern medicines against their price. Orencia costs around 10,000 pounds ($16,000) per patient a year.

(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Mike Nesbit)

($1=.6240 pounds) Keywords: BRISTOLMYERS ORENCIA/BRITAIN

(ben.hirschler@thomsonreuters.com; Tel: +44 20 7542 5082; Reuters Messaging: ben.hirschler.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net; www.twitter.com/reutersBenHir)

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