The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) has introduced Pfizer‘s tafamidis for transthyretin amyloidosis cardiomyopathy (ATTR-CM), a rare heart condition characterised by shortness of breath, fatigue, palpitations, fainting and chest pain.

The development comes after the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) approved the treatment for ATTR-CM patients in the country.

The drug significantly reduces hospitalisation and mortality risks for patients.

The once-a-day capsule slows the progression of ATTR-CM by preventing the accumulation of protein deposits in the heart.

Clinical trials have demonstrated a 41% decline in mortality risk among patients treated with tafamidis versus those on a placebo.

The NHS’s decision to offer tafamidis is underpinned by interim funding from the Innovative Medicines Fund, making the treatment accessible to more than 1,000 eligible patients in England.

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NHS England heart disease national clinical director professor Simon Ray stated: “A first of its kind, tafamidis will give those living with this rare progressive condition new hope – with NHS patients now able to benefit from a once-a-day treatment that can reduce the risk of hospitalisation and heart failure.

“This pioneering drug is just one example of the NHS delivering on its commitment to ensure patients across the country have access to the latest and most effective treatments to help significantly improve their quality of life.”

Before the introduction of tafamidis, treatment options for ATTR-CM were primarily limited to managing symptoms and providing supportive care.

Pfizer UK country president Susan Rienow stated: “This positive NICE decision, and interim funding through the Innovative Medicines Fund, is a significant milestone for eligible patients.

“We’ve remained committed to ensuring access to tafamidis and we’re pleased that it will now be available across the UK.”

This month, the NHS announced plans to offer Pfizer‘s Voxelotor (Oxbryta), a new treatment option for sickle cell disease patients.