Cost concerns drive UK authority to spurn popular ulcerative colitis drugs
- The UK's National Institutes of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) will not approved National Health Service (NHS) funding for Merck’s Remicade (infliximab), Merck’s Simponi (golimumab), and AbbVie’s Humira (adalimumab).
- NICE says that there is not sufficient clinical efficacy and cost-effectiveness data available to support their use, but a comment period for the proposed guidelines is in effect until October 15.
- All three of the drugs are approved for treatment of moderate-to-severely ulcerative colitis (UC) in adults who have not responded to conventional therapy, or who are not able to take it for some reason. In addition, Remicade is approved for treatment of children aged six to 17.
Approximately 146,000 people in the UK have UC, a chronic condition characterized by intestinal inflammation. Humira, Simponi, and Remicade are all effective treatments, but they are relatively expensive.
For Humira, the cost of induction therapy is just shy of $3,500, with monthly maintenance costs of about $1150. Induction and maintenance costs for Remicade are $8,206 and $342, respectively, and $3,730 and $1,243 for Simponi. The current comment period may have an impact on the final guidance -- especially considering the treatments' popularity -- which is expected in January 2015.
- Pharma Times NICE plans 'no' for ulcerative colitis drugs