NICE backs Bristol-Myers drug for hepatitis B
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence decides which medicines are worth using on the state-run health system. Its evaluations are also monitored by authorities in other countries.
LONDON (Reuters) - Bristol-Myers Squibb said on Wednesday its hepatitis B drug Baraclude had been recommended by the cost-effectiveness watchdog NICE, boosting a product seen as a growth driver for the U.S. company.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) decides which medicines are worth using on the state-run health system. Its evaluations are also monitored by authorities in other countries.
If the NICE appraisal remains unchanged, it will be published as final guidance in August and healthcare providers in England and Wales will then be required to make funding available for Baraclude for patients with chronic hepatitis B prescribed it by their specialist.
Worldwide sales of Baraclude, an antiviral treatment, jumped to $108 million (55 million pounds) in the first quarter of 2008 from $45 million in the year-ago period.
Hepatitis B is caused by a virus attacking the liver. It can lead to infection, scarring of the liver, liver failure and death.
The NICE guidance does not apply to people with chronic hepatitis B who also have hepatitis C, hepatitis D or HIV.