NICE recommends GSK's new injectable asthma drug Nucala


UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) new injectable asthma drug Nucala (Mepolizumab) for use in the country’s state-run health service in the most severe patients.

The drug has been recommended for use in a sub-group of adults with severe refractory eosinophilic asthma in England and Wales, after GSK provided further analyses on its use and made an additional price cut.

The first biologic therapy Mepolizumab targets interleukin-5 (IL-5) in severe asthma.

IL-5 plays a key role as it regulates the production and survival of eosinophils, an inflammatory cell that is known to be important in this disease.

The drug will be made available to patients in specialist centres providing severe asthma services.

GSK UK and Ireland medical director Dr Stephen McDonough said: “This is great news for eligible adult patients in England and Wales living with severe refractory eosinophilic asthma.

"It will enable healthcare professionals to offer a targeted treatment to this small but difficult-to-treat group of patients. Severe asthma is a debilitating condition."

“It will enable healthcare professionals to offer a targeted treatment to this small but difficult-to-treat group of patients. Severe asthma is a debilitating condition.

“For many patients, despite taking high doses of inhaled medicines, and often oral corticosteroids, their condition remains uncontrolled, putting them at high risk of frequent and serious asthma attacks, which can sometimes end up with them being hospitalised.”

The recommendation made by NICE follows marketing authorisation in Europe in December last year and positive restricted advice by the Scottish Medicines Consortium for use within NHS Scotland in June this year. 

Nucala is indicated as an add-on treatment for severe refractory eosinophilic asthma in adult patients, and its safety and efficacy in children and adolescents under 18 years of age has not yet been established.


Image: The drug has been recommended for use in a sub-group of adults with severe refractory eosinophilic asthma in England and Wales. Photo: courtesy of Yale Rose.