NICE wants more cost evidence on BI’s diabetes drug

More evidence on the cost-effectiveness of Boehringer Ingelheim’s type 2 diabetes drug empagliflozin has been requested by health watchdog NICE in new draft guidance.

Empagliflozin (marketed as Jardiance) is one of a new class of SGLT2 inhibitors and works by blocking the reabsorption of glucose in the kidneys which is instead passed out of the body in the urine.

The SGLT2 inhibitors are expected to become blockbusters in the longer term, even though DPP-4 inhibitors currently have the largest market share in diabetes treatments. Other players in the field include AstraZeneca (AZ), Johnson & Johnson and Astellas.

Jardiance already has marketing authorisation in Europe, which was granted in May. In the SGLT2 class it has an advantage over AZ’s Forxiga, which must carry a warning of increased risk of bladder cancers.

Commenting on the draft guidance Professor Carole Longson, director of the NICE Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, said it was important to have a varied arsenal to tackle diabetes.

“NICE already recommends several treatments, alongside lifestyle and dietary advice, specifically for managing blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Each has its advantages and disadvantages that affect how suitable they are. New treatments, like empagliflozin, will help clinicians give people with type 2 diabetes the right treatment,” she explained.

“There is good evidence which shows that empagliflozin is clinically effective. But we need more information to demonstrate that it is cost effective when compared with other treatments the NHS already provides.”

Consultees, including the manufacturer, healthcare professionals and the public can comment on the preliminary recommendations via the NICE website. Comments will be considered by the Committee and following this meeting the next draft guidance will be issued.


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