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Nice commits to arthritis drug u-turn

Nice commits to arthritis drug u-turn
5th July 2010

Older people who live with the pain of arthritis have been given new hope by a public health watchdog.

Having originally said that a new drug treatment to reduce joint inflammation was not cost-effective, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice), has performed a u-turn and approved the drug for patients with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis who have seen no improvement through other treatments.

The drug in question was tocilizumab and the initial Nice rejection prompted the manufacturer Roche to come back with more persuasive data.

Reacting to the news, Neil Betteridge, Arthritis Care chief executive and vice president of the European League against Rheumatism said the Nice reversal was "an important breakthrough".

"For those most affected, access to the widest range of treatment options will give them the best chance of keeping this painful and potentially disabling disease under control," he added.

Around ten million people in the UK have arthritis, according to Arthritis Care.

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