A “GAME-changing” new cholesterol drug which could prevent thousands of heart attacks and strokes is being rolled out by the NHS.
The revolutionary new treatment, called inclisiran, is given as an injection twice a year and can be used alongside statins.
It will be given to 300,000 patients initially as part of a multi-million-pound deal approved by health watchdog Nice.
Meindert Boysen, deputy chief executive of Nice, said: “This represents a potential game-changer in preventing thousands of people from dying prematurely from heart attacks and strokes.
“We’re pleased to be able to recommend it as a cost-effective option on the NHS, supported by the ground-breaking deal between the NHS and the drug’s makers Novartis.”
More than two in five people in England have high cholesterol which puts them at risk of heart disease.
Around 6.5million adults are currently taking lipid-lowering drugs like statins.
It’s estimated that inclisiran could prevent 55,000 heart attacks and strokes, saving 30,000 lives within the next decade.
Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of the NHS, said: “This world-leading deal will save lives and enable hundreds of thousands of people to benefit from this revolutionary treatment, while also being fair to taxpayers.”
Prof Kausik Ray, director of the Imperial Centre for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, said: “This is great news for patients. It will reduce their medication burden and offer convenience.
“It’s a game-changer for patients and the NHS.”
Clinical trials showed inclisiran reduces a fatty substance called LDL-C found in the blood, which makes people more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke.
It works by boosting the liver’s ability to remove harmful cholesterol.
The drug was bought by Swiss pharmaceutical firm Novartis in 2019 in a £7.7billion deal.
Health secretary Sajid Javid said: “This ground-breaking new drug further demonstrates the UK’s excellent track record for identifying the world’s most innovative treatments and ensuring NHS patients are able to access them at the earliest opportunity.
“Thanks to this collaboration, this life-saving new treatment will make a difference to hundreds of thousands of people across England. This is a huge step forward in tackling the scourge of heart disease, which tragically kills thousands every year.
“I want to thank the NHS, Novartis and NICE for this work to help treat one of the world’s deadliest diseases.”
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