In a draft guidance published in December 2009, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) reports that it has decided not to recommend dronedarone (Multaq, Sanofi-aventis) for use in the UK.
“The evidence provided to the independent appraisal committee indicates that dronedarone is less effective and costs considerably more than existing treatments for controlling atrial fibrillation,” the committee wrote.
Andrew Dillon, chief executive of NICE said: “NICE is keen to provide guidance which can help people with atrial fibrillation, but we need to be sure that any treatment we recommend offers real additional benefits for patients – and we need to be confident that those benefits justify the cost to the NHS. In this case, dronedarone costs more, and has not been shown to be more effective, than other treatments for AF.
“The committee also carefully considered information from patients and clinical specialists which indicated that, even though dronedarone does not work as well as existing treatments for atrial fibrillation, it may have fewer side effects so would be welcomed as an alternative option,” Dillon said.
Until NICE issues final guidance, NHS bodies should make decisions locally on the funding of specific treatments. Once NICE issues its guidance on a technology, it replaces local recommendations across the country.
The final guidance is expected to be issued in June 2010.