NICE ACCUSED OF “BLOCKING INNOVATION”
The Guardian (p5) reports that GlaxoSmithKline has launched a “forthright attack” on NICE, “accusing it of blocking innovation” after it failed to approve Benlysta (belimumab), which is the first new drug in a decade to treat lupus.
GSK was “unusually critical” of NICE’s decision, says The Guardian, and GSK said that the UK’s appraisal system was a “fundamental problem” and warned that the system needed to change.
Simon Jose, GSK UK general manager, said in a statement: “The failure to recognise and adopt innovative new medicines continues to be a systematic problem in the UK… The UK is a world leader in the research, development and manufacture of medicines, but is one of the slowest to enable patients to have access to innovative new treatments,” quotes the paper.
Jose, who is also the president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, said NICE should not compare Benlysta to cheap, older medicines, and also said that GSK had “priced belimumab responsibly” and offered an undisclosed NHS discount.
NICE’s chief executive, Sir Andrew Dillon, said: “The committee concluded that compared with standard care, there was some evidence of the clinical effectiveness of belimumab. However, the evidence considered did not persuade the committee that belimumab provided enough health benefit for patients in view of how much the NHS would need to pay for it compared to standard care, as the cost of the drug in relation to how well is works is very high.”
EUROPEAN COMMISSION THREATENS TO SUE UK OVER NHS ACCESS
The Financial Times (p4) says that the European Commission is “threatening” to sue the UK unless it “removes illegal curbs on the rights of EU citizens to use the NHS and bring their non-EU family members to Britain without a visa.”
UK government ministers have two months to comply with EU rules or face court, says the FT.