LONDON, Sept 4 Britain's healthcare cost
watchdog has recommended a drug to treat a rare blood disease
from U.S. biotech group Alexion Pharmaceuticals, even
though it said the medicine was "very expensive".
In March, the National Institute for Health and Care
Excellence (NICE) had sought more information from the company
explaining the high price of Soliris.
The medicine is designed to treat two rare chronic genetic
conditions that can damage organs including the kidneys, heart
and brain. NICE said it would cost 340,200 pounds ($560,500) per
adult patient in the first year and 327,600 pounds thereafter.
The draft guidance from NICE, which is now open to
consultation, covers use of Soliris in a condition called
atypical Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome (aHUS) that causes severe
inflammation of blood vessels.
"From the available evidence and from the testimony of
clinicians and patients, families and carers, it is clear that
eculizumab is a significant breakthrough in the management of
aHUS," said NICE's chief executive Andrew Dillon. "The drug is,
however, very expensive."
Funding Soliris - also known as eculizumab - for the around
200 patients in England it could benefit would cost an estimated
58 million pounds in the first year, rising to 82 million pounds
a year in five years time, NICE added.
($1 = 0.6069 British Pounds)
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler, editing by Louise Heavens)