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Boehringer cuts Pradaxa price in UK

Reduces oral anticoagulant's cost to make drug "as affordable as possible in this tough financial climate"

Boehringer Ingelheim has cut the price of its oral anticoagulant Pradaxa in the UK to make the drug "as affordable as possible in this tough financial climate". 

Boehringer's announcement comes just two weeks after final draft guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) supported use of the drug on the NHS for preventing stroke and systemic embolism in adult patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF).

NICE confirmed in that guidance that Pradaxa (dabigatran etexilate) is a cost-effective option in this setting at a price of £2.52 per day, and from April, 1 Boehringer will cut the price below that to £2.20, a 13 per cent reduction.

This will put it closer to the Bayer's rival oral anticoagulant Xarelto, which has a provisional cost of £2.10 per day but has yet to win NICE over after the Institute requested more clinical data on the drug in January.

NICE is due to issue final guidance on Xarelto, which is a Factor Xa inhibitor, in atrial fibrillation in May, giving Boehringer precious time to establish its direct thrombin inhibitor Pradaxa.

The pharma company said its price reduction would help ensure that all NHS patients in England and Wales who are eligible to receive Pradaxa will do so, "addressing NHS concerns about affordability" and allowing doctors to prescribe the drug "based on clinical need, not cost".

NICE's positive opinion on Pradaxa had been resisted by NHS Salford, which argued at an appeal meeting last month that NICE had underestimated the take-up of Pradaxa and that wide availability would force it to make sweeping changes to its anticoagulation services.

Boehringer estimates that 900,000 UK patients should be eligible for treatment with the anticoagulant.

It has previously said that if all eligible patients were treated with Pradaxa instead of current standard treatment warfarin, up to 5,000 strokes would be prevented, saving the NHS £59m in the first year.

A study published last October in the British Medical Journal found that despite a fall in stroke incidence and mortality, stroke prevention in patients with AF is not optimally managed in the UK.

 Whilst many patients are treated with warfarin, a significant proportion are not well controlled with this drug, with others receiving inadequate antiplatelet treatment such as aspirin, and up to 30 per cent are given no treatment at all, according to Boehringer.

29th March 2012

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