The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is endorsing the use of Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer’s clotbuster Eliquis (apixaban) on the National Health Service in England and Wales.

In draft guidelines, the cost regulator has deemed Eliquis value for money when used for the treatment and prevention of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in adults.

NICE’s Expert Review Committee concluded that the Incremental Cost Effectiveness Ratio (ICER) for the drug was less than £20,000 per QALY gained for either treatment duration (six months or lifelong), and so within acceptable thresholds.

Like other newer oral anticoagulants already recommended by the Institute in this setting, Eliquis does not require the frequent blood tests to monitor treatment that warfarin does, and so “represents a potential benefit for many people who have had a VTE,” said Carole Longson, NICE Health Technology Evaluation Centre Director.

The Committee also heard that Eliquis is the only oral anticoagulant for which the licensed dose is lower for secondary prevention than for initial treatment of VTE, which may reduce the risk of bleeding if treatment is continued and thus increase the chance that a person would take the drug long-term, she noted.