NICE Recommends MSD’s Drug for Spine Disease

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recommended pharmaceutical company Merck Sharp & Dohme’s (MSD) Simponi as an option for treating ankylosing spondylitis, reports

The drug is recommended in treating the disease, which affects the spine, in severe cases when used as directed for other tumour necrosis factor inhibitor treatments. MSD will also provide the drug at the same price for both 50mg and 100mg doses, meaning annual treatment costs are slightly over £9,000. NICE does not consider this an excessive price.

Ankylosing spondylitis has no known cause and can lead bones and joints to fuse together. Professor Carole Longson of NICE was pleased to recommend Simponi for “this progressive and irreversible condition.” MSD’s drug is more cost effective than the two current drugs used to treat the condition, so was appraised sooner than it may otherwise have been. The drug can only be taken if it is proved over a twelve week period the disease is active and conventional steroid treatment has failed.

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