Thousands of people in England with a chronic form of liver disease are denied access to life-saving drugs available to patients in Wales, Scotland and N.Ireland.

17 Aug 2015

Despite being recommended by European regulators and available in countries such as France and Germany, draft guidance recently issued by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), the body that advises NHS England on whether to fund certain drugs, recommends restricting the use of Daklinza in England. The stance will affect the treatment of adult patients with a particular strain of hepatitis C.

The move has dismayed health experts and liver disease charities who say it will mean a large subset of the sickest and most at risk patients in England will not receive the treatment they need to prevent them from potentially fatal liver failure or cancer.

They have urged Nice to rethink and take into account the results of trials as well as clinical practice that, they say, have proved the drug’s efficacy against a disease that is estimated to affect more than 200,000 people in the UK but remains undiagnosed in tens of thousands.

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