The UK’s cost-effectiveness agency has recommended the use of Schering-Plough’s Remicade on the National Health Service in patients with ulcerative colitis patients but the guidance provides only a limited boost for the drugmaker.

Specifically the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has backed the use of Remicade (infliximab) as an option for the treatment of acute exacerbations of severely active ulcerative colitis. However it is only recommended in patients in whom ciclosporin “is contraindicated or clinically inappropriate, based on a careful assessment of the risks and benefits of treatment in the individual patient”.

Peter Littlejohns, NICE clinical and public health director and executive lead for this guidance said that UC is an extremely debilitating disorder that is estimated to affect over 100,000 people in England and Wales. The guidance will ensure people with the condition, in which the lining of the large intestine becomes inflamed, causing bloody diarrhoea and discomfort in the abdomen, “are able to access a treatment of proven benefit.”

The announcement follows the same lines as those set out in NICE’s draft guidance issued in August. S-P and developer Johnson & Johnson had hoped to have a wider base of patients for the blockbuster, which is also approved for treating psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.