NICE backs down on PH guidance

NICE is to withdraw draft guidance for pulmonary hypertension (PH) following an appeal by a patient charity.

The UK Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA-UK) expressed concern when NICE made recommendations on PH drugs in March 2008.

The draft guidance advised against using intravenous epoprostenol and inhaled iloprost for adults with PH.

Bosentan and sitaxentan were only recommended if sildenafil was contraindicated.

PHA-UK collected 32,000 signatures on a petition protesting against the advice.

Iain Armstrong, chairman of PHA-UK, warned that NICE's draft advice would have been a 'death sentence' for some PH patients, and said treatments had transformed the way the condition was treated.

In a letter on NICE's website, Carole Longson, director of its Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, said arrangements were now in place for severely affected patients to receive targeted therapies.

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