UK Is Not NICE To Arthritis Patients

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) had decided that NHS (National Health Service) arthritis patients in England and Wales can only try one anti-TNF drug. Yes, you read that correctly. Doctors will only get one shot at prescribing the “right” anti-TNF therapy for each of their patients. No pressure there.

Say that one drug is Remicade. If Remicade does not work for a patient or loses its effectiveness over time, people in the UK will not be allowed to try a second TNF inhibitor therapy, such as Enbrel or Humira. Knowing how Enbrel and other anti-TNFs have been life-changing drugs for me and my arthritis friends, this information in this news article really disturbs me.

NICE said that giving patients two, or even three, anti-TNFs is not cost-effective and that doctors should offer patients the next drug in line – rituximab – which costs about £3,000 less per year than the cheapest anti-TNF.

However, around a quarter of patients do not gain any benefit from rituximab.

WTF?

Charities and patient groups are planning to appeal the ruling before the draft guidance is approved in the fall.

I have a lot of complaints about the U.S. health care system, but this definitely makes me appreciate our system a lot more. What do you think of this ruling?

Plan to Curb Arthritis Drug Use