NICE diabetes drug row escalates

Thu, 20 Apr 2006
Yesterday’s news focused on the preliminary decision by NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) to prevent insulin inhalers becoming available on the NHS. The authority claimed that the insulin delivery system is not cost-effective, and that their investigations had revealed that injections were not a major problem for many diabetics . Fresh controversy has been sparked by campaigners, who are calling for NICE to reconsider.

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, who manufacture the drug, are reported to be upset by the decision. NICE say that the drug would cost over £1,100 per person. They claim that there are insufficient grounds to justify its release. This news has enormous implications for the estimated 800,000 people in the UK who manage their diabetes with daily injections.

The charity diabetes UK claims the drug is a medical breakthrough, and that it should not be restricted due to projections of cost. A spokesman for the charity added: "many people with diabetes will be deeply disappointed that they are being denied this alternative form of treatment. It will be unfortunate if people in England have limited access whilst it becomes available in other countries." Pfizer continued to harangue the decision, called it "perverse and short-sighted."
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