UK cost agency endorses Novartis heart drug for some patients

The logo of Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis is seen on its headquarters building in Basel, Switzerland October 27, 2015. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

LONDON (Reuters) - Novartis's big new drug hope Entresto has been recommended for use in some patients with heart failure by Britain's cost agency NICE, which said on Friday it believed the treatment was a cost-effective option. Entresto has a list price of 1,194 pounds ($1,809) a year in Britain, or less than half the price of $4,560 charged by Novartis in the United States. U.S. prices for medicines are often considerably higher than those in Europe and a Novartis spokesman said European pricing was determined according to local conditions. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) said Entresto was suitable for a subset of heart failure patients whose hearts were particularly poor at pumping blood. The provisional recommendation was welcomed by Novartis, although the Swiss drugmaker said it was disappointed that NICE planned to restrict the drug's use to only certain patients. NICE, which decides if medicines should be used on the state health service, also gave a green light to AstraZeneca's ovarian cancer drug Lynparza, as well as Astellas Pharma's Xtandi for treating prostate cancer patients before chemotherapy. However, it turned down Johnson & Johnson's Zytiga for the same use in prostate cancer. (Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Susan Fenton)