Tens of thousands of lives could be saved after the NHS signed up to give patients a “game changer” anti-cholesterol jab.
Hundreds of thousands of people will be offered the drug which is hoped could prevent 55,000 heart attacks and strokes as well as save tens of thousands of people from an early death.
The treatment will be given to people with high cholesterol or abnormally high levels of fats in their blood who have already had a heart attack or stroke, under draft final guidance by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice).
NHS England said the drug will be rolled out at unprecedented scale after the health service and manufacturer struck a deal enabling its use at a cost-effective price.
More than two in five people in England have high cholesterol which puts them at significant risk of developing heart disease while heart disease accounts for around a quarter of deaths in England each year.
Inclisiran will be given as an injection by nurses in GP surgeries across England, with an initial dose followed by another three months later and then twice a year thereafter.
Meindert Boysen, Nice deputy chief executive and director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, said: “Inclisiran represents a potential game-changer in preventing thousands of people from dying prematurely from heart attacks and strokes.
“We’re therefore pleased to be able to recommend it as a cost-effective option on the NHS supported by the ground-breaking deal between NHS England and NHS Improvement and Novartis – a deal that could see as many as 300,000 people with high cholesterol or mixed dyslipidaemia who have already had a previous cardiovascular event receive the drug over the next three years.”
NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said: “The NHS is committed to using cutting-edge treatments to save and improve patients’ lives.
“Heart disease is still one of the major killer conditions so it is fantastic that we now have such an effective and convenient treatment for those living with dangerously high cholesterol levels.
“This world-leading deal for the rollout of inclisiran will save lives and enable hundreds of thousands of people to benefit from this revolutionary treatment, while also being fair to taxpayers.”