Five COVID-19 therapies, including Merck & Co.’s antiviral tablet for high-risk patients, have been recommended for discontinuation by Britain’s agency that decides whether medications may be used in the National Health Service (NHS), citing cost-effectiveness issues.
As the pandemic moves into a new stage, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) conducted its first review of COVID-19 treatments, which was released on November 16. Numerous governments are currently or will soon be faced with comparable choices. Many nations are figuring out how to exit the public health emergency stage as COVID-related deaths and cases have substantially decreased.
The guidelines are a draught, according to NICE, and access to COVID-19 medications will stay the same until final guidance is published. When the final guidelines would be issued was not specified. NICE stated that there is evidence supporting the efficacy of the hospital-administered antivirals remdesivir from Gilead Sciences Inc. and molnupiravir from Merck in treating COVID-19.
However, it claimed that since the cost-effectiveness estimates exceed what it deems to be an appropriate use of the resources of the national health system, it does not advise their usage at the current pricing. Additionally, it advised against using three additional COVID medications, including sotrovimab, an antibody therapy made by GSK and its partner Vir Biotechnology, which the World Health Organization has already advised against.
The other two are combined antibody therapies, Ronapreve from Roche and Evusheld from AstraZeneca. The oral antiviral Paxlovid from Pfizer Inc. and two repurposed anti-arthritis medications, RoActemra from Roche and Olumiant from Eli Lilly & Co., were the three COVID therapies that NICE did suggest for treating COVID in adults.
According to a specialist, the British government’s current approach includes several of the COVID treatments that NICE advised against. According to associate professor at the Leeds Institute of Medical Research, Stephen Griffin, therapeutics are a crucial part of the government’s living with COVID approach as they provide protection for individuals unable to produce good responses to vaccines.
He noted that stopping the use of these therapies will put even more individuals in danger. The cost-effectiveness study comes as nations and international organisations consider further modifications to COVID healthcare.
However, the Biden administration said this week that the COVID pandemic will maintain its status as a public health emergency in the United States, allowing millions of Americans to continue receiving free screenings, vaccinations, and treatments.