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NICE says an initial “no” to ozanimod for relapsing MS

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has provisionally decided not to recommend ozanimod for people with relapsing MS on the NHS. This is the first stage of the approval process around this new MS treatment.

What is ozanimod?

Ozanimod is a tablet taken daily. It's similar to fingolimod in that it's thought to act by trapping certain immune cells (called T cells) in the body’s lymph nodes.

Ozanimod has been shown in Phase III clinical trials to be effective at reducing the relapse rate in relapsing MS compared to beta interferon. 

In March 2020, it was licensed by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to treat people with relapsing MS who have active disease. ‘Active’ means you’re having relapses or MRI scans of your brain or spinal cord show new or growing lesions.

However, following review, NICE found that the treatment was not cost effective enough to be recommended for use on the NHS.  

People with MS could benefit from more oral treatments

Dr Sarah Rawlings, Director of Research and External Affairs at the MS Society, said: “It’s frustrating NICE has made a decision not to recommend ozanimod as a treatment for relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS). While there are a range of treatments for this form of the condition, oral options are limited, and people could benefit enormously from a new, more convenient alternative.

“NICE’s decision isn’t final, and we are urging them and the manufacturer to review the evidence and consider what’s best for those living with MS. Ozanimod would be the only oral first-line treatment for some people with relapsing MS, and we are hopeful both sides will act on the significance of this.”

Where does this decision apply?

This decision applies to England and Wales only. We're expecting a decision from the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) in early February. NICE decisions will be checked by the Government in Northern Ireland but are usually adopted.

Help NICE rethink its decision

While the initial decision is disappointing, it's not final at this stage. NICE has reversed its initial view before. This has been based on more evidence and/or price negotiations between the pharmaceutical company and NHS England. 

We'll be providing feedback and encouraging NICE to rethink its decision. Tell us why you think ozanimod, a first line tablet-based treatment, would make a difference to people with relapsing MS.

Please email [email protected] with your thoughts or experience by 10 February 2021.