NICE calls for more info on new RA treatment

NICE has failed to recommend new rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatment Simponi (golimumab) and has requested more information before making its final decision.

The independent Appraisal Committee is trying to establish in what circumstances Simponi might be a good use of resources and has asked Schering-Plough/Merck Sharp and Dohme for further clinical and cost effectiveness data.

Dr Carole Longson, Health Technology Evaluation Centre Director at NICE, said they needed to ensure the treatment offered “real benefits” to patients.

Simponi is a new treatment for moderate to severe active RA where the response to disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) therapy has been inadequate. The Committee said they would not “recommend the use of the drug in specific circumstances”.

NICE is analysing in what circumstances Simponi offers value for money when treating patients in whom previous treatments have failed. This includes conventional DMARDS only, and people who have had therapy with both conventional DMARDs and a TNF inhibitor and who can’t take Mabthera (rituximab).

“The evidence indicates that using golimumab isn’t cost effective if both conventional treatments and TNF inhibitors have already been tried and rituximab is an option,” said Dr Longson. “However, the additional information requested will be important in deciding whether golimumab can work effectively and cost effectively for patients in certain other circumstances.

“We’re looking forward to receiving the manufacturer’s response to help us decide whether golimumab should be added to the options already available to patients living with this very disabling disease.”