First Drug Approved Under NICE Fast-track Pilot Scheme

Priscilla Lynch 

August 04, 2021

A new treatment for severe plaque psoriasis is the first drug to be approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) under its pilot fast-track appraisal process.

To help address the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on its work, a new approach to the cost comparison fast-track appraisal process is being piloted by NICE this summer for the review of selected low-risk appraisals.

The pilot programme uses a subset of the appraisal committee to assess low-risk treatments, comparing them with similar therapies that have already been appraised by NICE. This sub-committee is then able to make a recommendation without requiring a full committee meeting.

After an initial recommendation has been made, the guidance is then considered by the entire committee ahead of its release, and a full meeting can be scheduled if any concerns arise.

On 2 August 2021, NICE published draft guidance on the first treatment to have used the new process, recommending bimekizumab (UCB Pharma) for treating severe plaque psoriasis.

Clinical trial evidence shows bimekizumab to be more effective at treating the condition than three comparators, which were all previously approved by NICE.

The cost-effectiveness estimates are also in line with what is considered to be an acceptable use of NHS resources, so bimekizumab is recommended, said NICE.

Nearly 18,000 people will be eligible for the new treatment.

Meindert Boysen, Director of the Centre for Health and Technology Evaluation at NICE, said: “Although our review is still underway, we are pleased to have been able to pilot this new approach to committee decision making to recommend bimekizumab as a treatment option for severe plaque psoriasis."

“It is our hope that we will continue to be able to follow this new process for eligible low-risk appraisals, and release capacity within our committees and the technology evaluation team.”

This article originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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