Orencia gets thumbs up after rapid review

Orencia 2 Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Orencia (abatacept) has been recommended by NICE as an option to treat rheumatoid arthritis after conventional treatments have failed.

NICE backed the drug following a rapid review of a previous negative appraisal after BMS submitted a patient access scheme to lower the price of the treatment for the NHS.

It is now recommended in combination with methotrexate only if the disease has responded inadequately to two conventional disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and is used in line with the recommendations for other types of these medicines.

Professor Carole Longson, Director of the Health Technology Evaluation Centre at NICE, said the guidance will “widen the choice of treatments” available to patients and the health service.

Orencia was not recommended for the same indication in August 2011 as a second line treatment after concerns were raised by NICE over its cost effectiveness when compared to alternatives.

However, the treatment has been backed alongside other treatments as an option for rheumatoid arthritis patients if there has been an inadequate response to one or more TNF inhibitors and if individuals cannot receive MabThera (rituximab) because it is contraindicated or withdrawn because of an adverse event.