NICE extends MS drug recommendations

In a final appraisal determination, NICE has recommended the disease-modifying therapies interferon beta-1b (Extavia), glatiramer acetate (Copaxone) and interferon beta-1a (Avonex and Rebif) for the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS).

Earlier draft guidance issued in December 2017 recommended only Extavia, but following feedback from stakeholders during the consultation process and the companies agreeing to discounts to the NHS price, NICE has now also recommended Copaxone, Avonex and Rebif as options.

Extavia is recommended only if the patient has relapsing-remitting MS and has had two or more relapses within the last two years or if they have secondary progressive MS with continuing relapses. Avonex, Rebif and Copaxone are recommended only for patients with relapsing-remitting MS.

The new guidance still does not recommend Betaferon (another brand of interferon beta-1b) because it was deemed to be not cost effective. NICE also decided that pegylated interferon beta-1a (Plegridy) should be assessed in a separate single technology appraisal, with publication at a later date.

Interferons and glatiramer acetate were previously only available on the NHS via the Department of Health’s Risk Sharing Scheme; however, the new guidance means that these treatments will be available for routine NHS funding.

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