The National Health Service (NHS) has revealed plans to fund Novartis’ Ilaris (canakinumab). Ilaris is useful for people with rare conditions causing repeated bouts of joint pains, fever, and swelling.
The NHS has decided to help people suffering with periodic fever syndromes (PFS) with Ilaris. PFS is defined as a group of rare genetic conditions where the person’s immune system overreacts, resulting in frequent inflammation ‘flares’. This leads to chest or joint pains, headaches, mouth ulcers and skin rash.
Signing a deal with Novartis, NHS has confirmed that Ilaris medicine can modify the immune system by turning off the inflammation process. This would significantly reduce the number of ‘flares’ children and adults’ experience. The deal has been announced as part of a “major programme” that is expected to not only ramp up access to innovative treatments, but also free up the funding for frontline patient care via smarter procurement.
The deal also brings into the NHS a more effective, convenient drug that has fewer side effects, compared to existing treatments. According to Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, the treatment “has the potential to significantly improve the lives of children who bear the burden of bouts of crippling pain which blights lives and puts strain on families”. He said:
“It’s the latest in a line of major deals NHS England has successfully negotiated, which show that when drug companies play ball with the NHS, taxpayers get a fair deal and patients get cutting-edge treatments.”
There are around 168 patients (both children and adults) in England with these diseases. Around 80% of these would be prescribed the drug.