Arthritis drug not available through NHS

Rheumatoid arthritis patients are not getting the access to the drugs they need in an unofficial "post code" distribution access by the National Health Service (NHS), according to a recent report.

Doctors at the British Society of Rheumatology presented a study that has confirmed the drug Remicade was being restricted by the NHS based on an informal "post code lottery."

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) approved the drug for widespread use by the NHS, which has instead installed a system of caps on medicine funding and amount of patients treated across the country.

Dr Lesley Kay, an author of the study presented in the medical journal Rheumatology said: "I understand local health authorities have limited budgets, but they should fund things that NICE has approved."

Remicade, made by Johnson & Johnson, costs about £10,000 per year for each sufferer of rheumatoid arthritis and is approved to treat inflammation in many different diseases in gastroenterology, rheumatism and dermatology.

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Arthritis drug not available through NHS
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