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Wednesday 20th June 2018

NICE rejects asthma injection

27th October 2010

The NHS drug rationing body has decided that an injection for children with severe asthma is too expensive to be offered on the NHS.


The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has said young asthma sufferers should not be given the new injection that can cut the number of severe attacks they suffer because it does not provide enough benefit to justify the cost of £26,000 a year per patient.

The drug is called omalizumab and marketed as Xolair.

It is administered on a monthly basis and can reduce the number of severe attacks but NICE also found it did not cut the number of times a child had to visit hospital A&E departments.

The drug is however available to people over 12, though NICE is now reviewing that guidance.

NICE chief executive Sir Andrew Dillon said: “The evidence reviewed by our independent advisory committee showed little benefit for young children between six and eleven years old.

"Omalizumab does not reduce hospitalisation rates, A&E visits, unscheduled doctor visits or total emergency visits. The only demonstrable benefit was in reducing the rate of clinically significant exacerbations for children who had had three or more exacerbations per year.”

Asthma UK expressed its disappointment over the decision.

Chief executive Neil Churchill said: “This action will deny children across England with the most severe, allergic asthma, a pioneering treatment that many doctors tell us they want to prescribe and that could free these children from endless trips to hospital and huge amounts of time off school.”


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