National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) recommendations that tocilizumab should be more readily available to patients with arthritis have gained the support of Arthritis Care UK.
In 2010, Nice recommended tocilizumab as a means of treating people with arthritis if there has been an inadequate response to one or more TNF inhibitors and where rituximab has also produced inadequate response.
The drug was also recommended where rituximab has contraindicated or has produced undesirable side effects.
Federico Moscogiuri, head of policy & campaigns at Arthritis Care UK, stated: "Although it must be stressed that this guidance is only preliminary, it represents a very encouraging development in terms of improving treatment options for people with rheumatoid arthritis."
The Nice draft guidelines also specify that tocilizumab should only be used at an early point in the rheumatoid arthritis treatment pathway in specific clinical circumstances, and only if the manufacturer provides tocilizumab with the discount agreed as part of the patient access scheme.
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