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NICE refuses Novo Nordisk's obesity therapy Saxenda for NHS use

Published on 27/01/20 at 11:19am

NICE, the drug watchdog for England and Wales, has revealed that it has chosen not to recommend Novo Nordisk’s Saxenda (liraglutide) for the weight management in obese or overweight patients.

The recommendation would have covered the use of Saxenda when taken alongside a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity

Trial data submitted in support of recommendation demonstrated that the drug, in combination with these lifestyle changes, was more effective than these measures alone in weight loss and delaying the development of type 2 diabetes. However, NICE argued that the long-term relevance of these data are in question, particularly with regard to its benefit on cardiovascular disease risk.

In terms of cost-effectiveness, NICE noted that Novo Nordisk included data on high-risk from obesity-related adverse events – adults with a BMI of over 35kg/m2 with pre-diabetes and a high-risk of cardiovascular disease – but that it did not include compelling data on the wider patient population covered by this new indication.

As a result, the institute could not reach an accurate cost-effectiveness estimate, noting that the ultimate estimate could come in at a rate much higher than the NHS is able to pay.

Obesity has now become a major health concern in England, affecting just over one in four of the adult population. Despite this rejection, NICE currently recommends Saxenda for the treatment of type 2diabetes.

Matt Fellows

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