The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has limited the use of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (BMS) Daklinza (daclatasvir) to treat adult patients with chronic hepatitis C infection in the UK.

According to the published data, daclatasvir-based regimen has the capability to cure hepatitis C infection in patients with a difficult-to-treat and often aggressive form of hepatitis C (genotype 3).

In April, the European Association for The Study of the Liver (EASL) recommended daclatasvir-based regimen for genotype 3 patients based on most recent data.

Bristol-Myers Squibb UK and Ireland general manager Johanna Mercier said: "This is a disappointing decision by NICE, which contrasts with the assessments from other clinical and regulatory bodies across the UK, and does not provide equality of access across the UK.

"This is a disappointing decision by NICE, which contrasts with the assessments from other clinical and regulatory bodies across the UK."

"Daclatasvir provides an important option for some of the most in-need patients who, without effective treatment, face an uncertain future."

In the UK, around 100,000 patients are expected to have hepatitis C genotype 3, while about 215,000 people are expected to have hepatitis C.

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The draft NICE guidance will restrict the use of the drug to patients with hepatitis C genotype 3, which accounts for around 45% of all cases in England.

Hepatitis C genotype 3 is said to be associated with faster disease progression and is difficult to treat with oral regimens compared with other genotypes.

Image: Electron micrographs of hepatitis C virus purified from cell culture. Photo: courtesy of Maria Teresa Catanese, Martina Kopp, Kunihiro Uryu, and Charles Rice.