PPMS drug gains NICE recommendation after price negotiation with the NHS

Ocrevus, for treating Multiple Sclerosis, has gained a NICE recommendation after price negotiation with NHS England.

Ocrevus (ocrelizumab, Roche) will now be available in the NHS as the first disease modifying treatment for primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS), a rarer form of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Ocrelizumab had previously gained restricted recommendation by NICE as a treatment for active relapsing remitting and very active relapsing remitting MS. The restrictions specify that the drug may not be appropriate if the patient has existing medical conditions including cancer or serious infections such as HIV/AIDS or hepatitis B.

Ocrelizumab has been shown to slow the advance of PPMS, although there is some uncertainty in the extent of the effect.

It is estimated that 2,700 people in the UK could be eligible for treatment with ocrelizumab which will be provided twice a year. The average annual cost per patient of the drug at list price is £19,160, which would equate to a budget impact close to £50m. However, as part of this new arrangement the actual cost paid by the NHS will be significantly lower.

In comments as part of an announcement by NICE, Meindert Boysen, director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE, said:

“Our earlier draft guidance acknowledged that ocrelizumab represents an important development in the treatment of a condition for which there is a large unmet need. Unfortunately we couldn’t recommend it at the price offered at that time because it did not represent a cost-effective use of limited NHS resources.

“We are therefore pleased that NHS England and the company have been able to reach an agreement that will see this important new treatment made available to thousands of people with this form of MS.”

In a press release, Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England said:

“Today the NHS is making a significant advance in the care of people living with multiple sclerosis. This latest innovative deal is further proof that companies willing to work flexibly with the NHS can secure a constructive partnership that benefits both patients and taxpayers.”

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Published 14. May 2019 in News, News UK