The National Institute for Clinical Excellence made ‘glaring errors’ before deciding to recommend beta interferon treatment for multiple sclerosis should be banned from the NHS, says the Multiple Sclerosis Society, one of the organisations which appealed against the verdict. NICE’s appeal panel has referred the decision back to its appraisal committee.
The MS Society said today (08 November),
"The appeal panel found ‘insufficient weight’ had been given to the significance of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data on early MS disease activity. There was ‘a real danger’ possible long-term benefits of the treatment had been understated. It was ‘perverse’ the appraisal committee had rejected the reasonable concept of more prolonged benefit. The perspective and clinical needs of patients may not have been properly understood and accurately assessed."
"It was also perverse, the panel found, to recommend patients already on treatment should continue while others would not receive it. It was insufficient justification that the decision had been made for compassionate reasons."
"Many people with MS whose lives could have been transformed by the drugs may never receive them, in spite of the referral back. The delay will create even more misery for people already living with a devastating disease."
"Seven weeks after the appeal hearing, NICE now tells us its decision has been referred back to a meeting in December, more than ten months since our original submissions were made. The final decision on a recently-licensed MS drug, glatiramer acetate, due to be reached in October, has also been put back."
"The upshot is that many more people who could already be receiving these proven and licensed drugs may now fail to meet the clinical criteria for them because their MS has progressed too far."
"People who could still be working and playing a real role in bringing up their families have already missed the chance of treatment which could have changed their lives. While the drugs have helped some people back to work, others who were paying tax will now be claiming benefits."