NICE rules out RA drug abatacept

The rheumatoid arthritis (RA) drug abatacept is too expensive to be prescribed on the NHS, according to NICE.

In a draft single technology appraisal of the drug, released last week, NICE said abatacept was as effective as the other cytokine inhibitor rituximab for RA, but cost twice as much.

Rituximab was recently approved for use with methotrexate in RA patients who failed to respond to other disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs).

A NICE spokesman said: 'While recognising the severity of RA, it was concluded that based on this evidence, abatacept could not be considered good use of NHS resources.'

Chief executive of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society Ailsa Bosworth said: 'To deny patients abatacept is to deny people with an aggressive and severe form of RA a chance of controlling the disease.'

Last week NICE issued final guidance on the use of tumour necrosis factor alpha blockers for RA. Adalimumab, etanercept and infliximab are recommended in patients with confirmed active RA who have already been trialled with at least two other DMARDs, including methotrexate.

Comment below and tell us what you think

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

Sign pointing to hospital

NHS England seeks to clarify GPs' responsibilities when using advice and guidance

New guidance from NHS England has set out the clinical responsibilities and medicolegal...

Widespread joint pain - red flag symptoms

Presentations and red flag symptoms that may alert you to potentially serious conditions...

Talking General Practice logo

Podcast: Supporting neurodivergent doctors and staff in general practice

Talking General Practice speaks to GPs Dr Beckie Akroyd and Dr Catherine Bell about...

BMA Scotland GP committee chair Dr Andrew Buist

General practice in Scotland 'in serious trouble', warns BMA Scotland GP chair

General practice in Scotland has reached a tipping point, with demand far outstripping...

Hospital entrance

NHS England issues warning over norovirus and rising winter pressures

Almost three times as many people were in hospital with norovirus last week compared...

BMA Northern Ireland GP committee chair Dr Alan Stout

Northern Ireland GPs face deepest-ever crisis as practices hand back contracts

Northern Ireland's GP leader has warned that general practice in the region is facing...