Thursday, July 28, 2016

UK health service under fire over access to hepatitis C drugs

Feature Investigation
A pill too hard to swallow: how the NHS is limiting access to high priced drugs
(Published 27 July 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;354:i4117
A joint investigation by The BMJ and Cambridge and Bath universities uncovers how NHS England tried to limit access to expensive new drugs for hepatitis C.
Jonathan Gornall, Amanda Hoey, and Piotr Ozieranski report

Highly priced medicines are challenging health systems around the world in unprecedented ways. And none more so than the new sofosbuvir based antiviral drugs introduced by Gilead Sciences in 2014. Offering greatly reduced treatment durations and high cure rates, these medicines hold out the real prospect of eliminating hepatitis C in countries where they are widely administered, with all that implies for long term savings in healthcare costs.
Continue reading...

England's NHS waged a tense behind-the-scenes fight against pricey hep C drugs
by Tracy Staton
When England’s cost-effectiveness gatekeepers gave their blessing to Gilead Sciences’ pricey hepatitis C drugs last year, some of the country’s sickest patients were already being treated under a special access program.

But as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) was weighing Gilead’s evidence and pricing on Sovaldi and Harvoni, the country’s National Health Service was maneuvering behind the scenes to delay or block the agency’s approvals, according to a BMJ investigation to be published Thursday.

Continue reading....

NHS England tried to sabotage hepatitis C drugs release because it couldn't afford them, doctors claim
Doctors from the clinical advisory group have claimed NHS England tried to sabotage attempts to introduce the expensive drugs, to delay them until the following financial year because they didn't have enough funding

UK health service under fire over access to hepatitis C drugs

British health authorities improperly restrict access to expensive new hepatitis C drugs that can cure the liver-destroying disease, patient groups and a leading medical journal charged on Thursday.

Despite the clear benefits of the drugs, the National Health Service in England rations the drugs to just 10,000 people with the virus each year, campaigners said.

The Hepatitis C Trust said it was now seeking a judicial review of NHS England’s decision and the court is considering whether to grant permission for the case to go ahead.

Hepatitis C drugs have become the focus of a fierce debate over the high cost of modern medicines, after Gilead Sciences launched the first of the products, Sovaldi, with a U.S. price tag of $1,000 per pill.

In Britain, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the cost-effectiveness watchdog, recommended the new drugs for the majority of hepatitis C patients, but the British Medical Journal said NHS England had defied NICE’s authority by rationing access.

NHS England said the journal's claims were inaccurate and hepatitis C was its single biggest new treatment investment in years, adding it was "naive" to think the system could pay for coverage for all patients at once.

"As prices come down due to more competition between drug companies, in future years we'll be able to expand hep C treatments even further within the funding available, and the industry is now engaging in discussions with us about how best to do this," a spokesperson said.

(Reporting by Ben Hirschler, editing by Larry King)

No comments:

Post a Comment