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AstraZeneca wins NICE backing for asthma injection

NICE hails 'competitive pharma market'

Faserna

NICE has recommended the use of AstraZeneca’s severe asthma treatment Faserna (benralizumab) after the company revised its initial pricing offer.

The recommendation from England's cost effectiveness watchdog gives AZ's injection a toe-hold in the market, where GSK's Nucala and Teva's Cinqaero are already NICE-approved. 

The UK’s cost effectiveness watchdog said in an earlier appraisal consultation document that the drug was not cost-effective, but recognised the demand for such drug, and subsequently approved it under a strict set of criteria.

It was restricted to patients who exhibited a high count (400) of eosinophil’s cells in the past year, had at least three exacerbations in the last year and only when GlaxoSmithKline’s Nucala (mepolizumab) is not appropriate.

But the revised offer from AstraZeneca has led to  a broader recommendation from NICE, which will see the NHS fund its use for patients struggling to control severe eosinophilic asthma with inhalers.

It’s a relatively uncommon  form of asthma, and according to NICE it affects around 100,000 people in the UK.

Meindert Boysen, director of NICE’s Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, said: “People with severe eosinophilic asthma that is inadequately controlled often have a severely impaired quality of life – it can hold them back from doing many basic daily tasks, lead to psychological problems including anxiety and depression, and leave them in constant fear of a potentially lethal asthma attack. By keeping their asthma under better control, biological treatments have transformed the lives of some of these sufferers.

Meindert

Meindert Boysen

“This recommendation of a further biological option demonstrates how a competitive pharmaceuticals market combined with NICE’s appraisal process provides the NHS and patients with value-for-money and choice.”

Boysen even pointed out that AZ's drug could have some advantages over GSK’s Nucala and Teva’s Cinqaero.

“Benralizumab could offer an easier method of administration than reslizumab, and a more convenient dosing schedule than existing biological treatments,” said Boysen.

Faserna’s treatment regimen is every four weeks for the first three doses and then every eight weeks thereafter. This differs from Nucala and Teva, which both require a treatment schedule of every four weeks.

It has an original list price of £1, 955 per dose, but as always the discount offered to NICE remains confidential.

Article by
Gemma Jones

4th January 2019

From: Regulatory

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