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Monday 23rd April 2018

NICE lifts ban on arthritis drugs

24th November 2008

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has decided to review its decision on the use of anti-TNFs for the treatment of arthritis.


NICE guidelines mean that patients who were prescribed one of the three anti-TNF drugs could not transfer to another drug if the first one they took was unsuccessful.

Appeals against the decision came from many groups, including the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society - whose 2,000 members signed a petition - and drug manufacturers.

Campaigners were angry that patients were denied the opportunity to transfer to another type of anti-TNF if their original treatment didn't work.

NICE admitted on that they needed to review the evidence into the use of the drugs.

In the UK, 400,000 people have arthritis and around 40,000 will require anti-TNF medication, because normal painkilling treatments cannot control their condition.

The three types of medication are Enbrel, Humira and Remicade. They block the chemical known as tumour necrosis factor (TNF) and reduce joint inflammation.

Ailsa Bosworth, chief executive of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, said: "We are delighted...it is vital for people living with rheumatoid arthritis to have access to clinically proven drugs that can help to reduce the pain, fatigue and disability associated with this devastating disease."

A spokesman for NICE, said: "The Institute is seeking advice from the Department of Health as to whether a new formal referral from ministers is required, and will make the decision available once it is known."


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