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NICE set to appraise obesity treatment Accomplia

Published on 14/02/07 at 10:23am

Sanofi-Aventis' obesity treatment Acomplia (rimonabant) will be among the drugs appraised by NICE in its latest works programme.

With an emphasis on what NICE terms the NHS's national priorities, other brands under the microscope include GlaxoSmithKline's Tycerb (lapatinib), a rival to Roche's high profile breast cancer treatment Herceptin.

The government has identified obesity as one of the UK's major public health problems, and says the condition is responsible for more than 9,000 premature deaths per year in England alone.

A Department of Health report last year warned that more than 12 million adults and one million children in the UK could be obese by 2010, figures which have dire implications for the incidence of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, some cancers, and type II diabetes.

NICE issued comprehensive clinical guidelines on treating obesity in December, but the review did not include Acomplia.

NICE currently recommends drug treatment for most obese or overweight adults only when diet, exercise and behaviour changes have failed.

Up against Abbot'ts Reductil and Roche's Xenical for the treatment of obese and overweight patients, Acomplia was launched last year and no comparative data has been published.

Trials of Acomplia show patients lost on average 6-8 kg over a year but had to keep taking the pill to ensure that weight stayed off over the next 12 months.  Set against Acomplia's cost, the data may not be enough to convince NICE to give the drug an unrestricted recommendation.

Other appraisals

Meanwhile, GSK's Tycerb is to be appraised for women with advanced or metastatic breast cancer. The drug was only filed in October, but providing it gains European approval, could be launched by late 2007.

NICE will also review Roche's Avastin (bevacizumab) - rejected last August for the treatment of advanced bowel cancer - for use in patients with non-small cell lung cancer.

NICE will also look at UCB's Cimzia (certolizumab pegol) for rheumatoid arthritis and Johnson & Johnson's Remicade (infliximab) for ulcerative colitis under its single technology appraisal (STA) programme, introduced to fast-track drugs for NHS approval.

It will also appraise rheumatoid arthritis treatment Humira (adalimumab) for moderate to severely active Crohn's disease.

This will either be carried out as part of the STA or multiple technology appraisal (MTA) programmes.

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