Further to the article I posted on Friday is this, more indepth article on NICE’s decision not to approve Orencia / Abatacept as a second-line treatment for patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Fortunately, everything still seems to be going ahead for me starting this drug on Thursday, possibly because of my Still’s Disease diagnosis or the number of other drugs we’ve tried to control it, or maybe it’s just because this is still a draft guideline. But the implications of this decision still bother me; are they really suggesting that patients who are taking Orencia and managing the disease successfully should stop because it isn’t cost effective? Is it not more cost effective for someone to be stable on a drug, rather than to keep finding the funding to try different things or just to need regular hospital admissions/rheumatology appointments/surgeries etc?
Worryingly, the chief executive of NRAS believes that a group of patients will be condemned ‘…to a life of pain and misery, with worsening disease which offers an ever-decreasing quality of life’, and she goes on to say that for these patients, ‘long-term, high-dose steroids may become the only option’. This, as we recently discussed, would only add to the patient’s medical problems in the future and, again, would not seem to be cost-effective.
Lets hope they rethink the decision or that they are hoping that the more cost-effective injectable form of Orencia gets approval in the near future,