Novartis “disappointed” by JCVI’s decision to not recommend meningitis B vaccine

The UK Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has decided not to recommend Novartis’ Bexsero for inclusion in the National Immunisation Programme at this time – a move which has “disappointed” the global pharma company.

Earlier this year, the European Medicines Agency approved Bexsero for active immunization of individuals from two months of age and older against invasive meningococcal disease caused by Neisseria meningitidis group B. Results from phase 3 clinical trials, which involved over 8000 patients, confirmed the safety and immunogenicity profile of the drug.

“The interim position by the JCVI is inconsistent with its recommendations for other meningococcal vaccines. The meningitis C vaccination campaign in the UK, following JCVI recommendation, was a tremendous public health success saving thousands from serious illness and death. It is disappointing to see that the decision was mostly driven by financial considerations and without any pricing discussion with Novartis. The evaluation model does not do justice to the vaccine’s ability to prevent babies and young children from dying or surviving with severe lifelong disabilities.”

Andrin Oswald, Division Head, Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics.

The JCVI interim decision stated that Bexsero is unlikely to prove cost-effective based on the current method of evaluation in the UK. Novartis’ statement said that the company “believes that the current method of evaluating the cost-effectiveness of Bexsero fails to fully capture the lifetime benefits of disease prevention and undervalues technologies that prevent diseases.”

Novartis was not asked for pricing information as part of the JCVI deliberation and intends to provide related input prior to the recommendation being finalized.

Bacterial meningitis and septicaemia kill more children under five than any other infectious disease in the UK.


Related news:

Novartis vaccine division hit by Bexsero setback (Reuters)

Reference links:

Novartis press release

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