Tags: biotech, health economics, NICE, pharmaceutical companies, RA, Rheumatoid arthritis, science, UK
I’m currently working on a transcription about pharmaceutical companies, and it’s hardly giving away state secrets to mention that the guy has just said that many other countries are looking to NICE, (who base their decisions on whether a drug is approved in the UK on ‘health economics’ which boils down to ‘if it’s expensive then the answer is no). This is a real concern because if more and more countries move to this model then more and more pharmaceutical and biotech companies are going to have to reconsider whether it’s worth their while developing expensive biologics such as anti-TNFs. If they decide it’s NOT worth while, where does that leave us, the patients?
This is a particular concern for RA because frequently a drug that works well for a while in one patient suddenly stops working and they need to move on to something else. I’ve posted about that before I think, regarding the NICE decision (now withdrawn for reevaluation) to refuse a further anti-TNF treatment to someone that’s already had one). So if the companies stop developing these drugs, then we’ll be in the same situation down the line as we are now – a small number of drugs to try, if NASTY even let us try them, and then bang – here comes the wheelchair.
Sorry for the lack of positivity in this post – I’m quite stressed right now! But then again, I’m stressed because I have a lot of work and I’m GLAD I have a lot of work to keep the wolf from the door in the current economic climate!
Tags: anti-TNF, appeal, decision, Final Appraisal Document, MP, NHS, NICE, NRAS, RA, Rheumatoid arthritis, severe RA, treatment
NRAS has just announced that NICE, the so called ‘National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence’ and unaffectionately known as NASTY, which is in fact a national organisation for making sure expensive drugs don’t get paid for on the National Health Service, is re-opening its enquiry into whether a patient should be allowed to try another anti-TNF drug if the first fails to work.
Admittedly this is not a total reversal of their previous Final Appraisal Document, which indicated that patients should not be allowed to try another anti-TNF if the first failed, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that a) patients who ‘failed’ on one anti-TNF frequently had success with another, as these drugs are all quite differnet and work in different ways to each other and b) a patient who had failed on this last line of treatment was likely to already be suffering from severe RA (Because in this country you can’t have an anti-TNF at all on the NHS unless your RA is severe, even though evidence suggests that the earlier you treat with an anti-TNF, the more succesful you are).
The fact that NICE have ‘backed down’ to the extent of even revisiting this is great news though, and it proves that they are forced to listen when we all stand up and shout! Thanks to NRAS and all the other organisations who appealed against the Final Appraisal Document. No thanks to my MP, who did at least stir himself to write a letter to the Minister for Health but then failed to understand her response and sent me a useless letter saying something like ‘It’s OK – this hasn’t actually been decided yet’.