“Ground-breaking” cholesterol jab needs a rethink
This week, the UK health watchdog (NICE) has recommended that a new cholesterol-lowering drug called Inclisiran, should be offered to people with high cholesterol and those who have already had a heart attack or stroke.
Inclisiran’s manufacturer Novartis, struck a deal with the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) last year to begin trialling the drug on patients.
Preliminary data suggested that “if 300,000 patients were treated each year, 55,000 heart attacks and strokes could be prevented and 30,000 lives saved over 10 years.”
They boasted the deal would lead to the “creation of an industry and academic consortium”, and help the NHS meet its target of preventing 150,000 cardiovascular deaths over 10 years.
Researchers expressed concern over the commercial deal. “Such language suggests an underlying focus on industry partnerships, not patient outcomes,” wrote Dr Paula Byrne from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, in the BMJ.
But, a closer look at the data should spark a rethink.