NICE Publish Draft Guidance to Expand Availability of RA Drug Cimzia

NICE haNice_Logove published draft guidance recommending UCB Pharma’s TNF inhibitor, Cimzia, as a treatment option for patients with severe rheumatoid arthritis when other treatments have not worked or are unsuitable.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has already recommended the Cimzia (certolizumab pegol) for treating severe rheumatoid arthritis that has not responded to intensive therapy involving a combination of conventional disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs); this new proposed guidance will therefore expand the number of people who can be considered for treatment by recommending the drug’s use after a type of DMARD called a TNF inhibitor has been tried and rituximab is not an option.

Approximately 580,000,000 people in England are believed to have rheumatoid arthritis, which is an inflammatory autoimmune disease that primarily affects the small joints of the hands and feet by causing swelling, stiffness, pain and progressive joint destruction. Of those in England that are afflicted with the disease, 15% have the severe form of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

“Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease for which there is no cure and one that can have a severe impact on quality of life,” noted Professor Carole Longson, director of the centre for health technology evaluation at NICE.

“NICE already recommends a number of drugs as possible options for severe rheumatoid arthritis after treatment with a TNF inhibitor has failed and where rituximab is not an option. We hope that adding certolizumab pegol to this list will mean that people with severe rheumatoid arthritis will be able to manage their condition more effectively so they can lead as full and active a life as possible.

Cimzia costs £6,793 per patient during the first year and then £9,295 yearly for subsequent years, taking into account a patient access scheme agreed between UCB and the Department of Health under which the first 12 weeks of treatment are free of charge.


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