The National Institute of health and Clinical Excellence’s (NICE) decision not to provide the drug omalizumab (Xolair) for 6-11 years old children suffering from asthma in England has invited criticism.
The drug got the approval in Scotland by the Scottish Medicines Consortium for the children below the age of 12, but NICE recommended the same for the older children and adults, as it can cause allergies for the smaller children.
Asthma UK ridiculed the NICE’s move. It expressed that there are only a few side-effects from the drug as compared to the oral corticosteroids that gives way to harmful diseases like diabetes, hypertension and heart failure. Moreover, as found by the trials, significant improvements were shown in children’s asthma after the use of the drug. The withdrawal of the drug is nothing but a blow to the asthma-affected children.
On the other hand, NICE stated that omalizumab is not that effective on children below 12 and the hospitalization rate is consistent with the use of the drug. Also, no reductions were witnessed in total emergency visits and the drug cast its effect only on children with three or more exacerbations per year.
“Patients will once again be faced with a treatment postcode lottery depending on where they live in the UK”, said Dr. Mike Thomas, the charity’s Chief Medical Adviser.
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