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Boehringer’s Pradaxa Blood Thinner Receives U.K. Recommendation

Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH’s Pradaxa blood thinner to prevent strokes in people with a type of irregular heartbeat has been recommended by the U.K.’s medical-cost regulator.

Any decision about whether to start treatment with Pradaxa, chemically known as dabigatran, should be made after an “informed discussion about the risks and benefits of dabigatran compared with warfarin,” a half-century-old generic blood thinner that requires monitoring, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence said today in a statement.

Boehringer, based in Ingelheim, Germany, beat U.S. competitors Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer Inc. and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. to the U.S. market last year with Pradaxa, the first pill to replace warfarin. NICE said in August that it needed more information from Boehringer to help estimate effectiveness and lower costs before it could back the treatment.

“There were a number of uncertainties relating to the drug’s cost-effectiveness in the original evidence submission,” Carole Longson, a NICE director, said in the statement. Additional information from the manufacturer “has enabled the committee to recommend dabigatran as a cost-effective use of National Health Service resources.”

The cost per patient each year will be about 920 pounds ($1,480) based on the recommended dose, the agency said. Dabigatran doesn’t require frequent blood tests for monitoring and can be more effective than warfarin for preventing strokes, NICE said.

NICE advises the U.K.’s state-run National Health Service on which treatments represent value for money as the government works to save on medical expenses. Following the draft recommendations on Pradaxa today, NICE plans to publish final guidance on the drug to the NHS in December, the agency said.

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