November 24, 2008

Britain to reconsider anti-TNF drugs

British drug regulators say they've agreed to review National Health Service restrictions on rheumatoid arthritis medications.

Current restrictions dictate that patients taking anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) drugs cannot switch to a different medicine if the first one did not work, the Daily Telegraph reported Monday. The drugs Enbrel, Humira and Remicade, work by blocking a chemical called tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and bringing inflammation in the joints under control, the report said.

The newspaper said the decision by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence was made following a petition from the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, drug companies and other patient groups.

We are delighted that Nice have listened to patients and clinicians and agreed to re-look at the evidence for the sequential use of Anti-TNF drugs, said Ailsa Bosworth of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society. It is vital for people living with rheumatoid arthritis to have access to clinically proven drugs that can help to reduce the pain, fatigue and disability associated with this devastating disease.