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Extavia, a drug designed to slow down damage to the nervous system in patients with specific forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), has been approved for funding on the NHS in new draft guidance.
The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has announced it is recommending the drug for routine use on the NHS following a discount to its price, which has made it more cost-effective to fund.
Extravia is intended for patients who are suffering from relapsing-remitting MS or secondary progressive MS, which is a more severe manifestation of the former.
The drug is designed to be injected by the patient themselves once every two days to slow down any damage to the nervous system and to reduce the number of MS-related relapses that they suffer.
Currently, there are believed to be around 116,000 people suffering from MS in England alone, so NICE's recent approval of Extravia for routine NHS use has the potential to benefit the lives of a significant number of patients and their loved ones.
Professor Carole Longson, director of the centre for health technology evaluation at NICE, commented: "Being able to delay the progression of the disease is important to help patients get back to their normal lives.
"We are delighted that Novartis has been able to agree a reduction to the price of Extavia to allow it to be made routinely available to people with this type of multiple sclerosis."
She added that NICE is "keen" to work with other pharmaceutical manufacturers to make sure MS patients are able to benefit from a wide choice of treatment options in the future.
As part of the drugs appraisal that saw Extravia approved, NICE also chose not to recommend the MS drug glatiramer acetate, as well as the beta interferons Avonex, Betaferon, Plegridy and Rebif.
As a result, NICE would be interested in seeking firms to manufacture these in a cost-effective manner in the future.
Written by James Puckle
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