UK patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis could soon get routine access to the first targeted therapy on the National Health Service in England and Wales, after cost regulators issued a preliminary green light for Boehringer Ingelheim’s Ofev.

In draft guidance out today (Friday), the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence supports use of Ofev (nintedanib) in patients with IPF, but only if the person has a forced vital capacity between 50% and 80% predicted and the drug is provided with the discount agreed in the patient access scheme.

The Institute has also stipulated that treatment should be stopped if disease progresses in any 12 month period.

IPF is thought to be diagnosed in around 5,000 UK patients every year. The potentially fatal disease causes damage and scarring to the tissue surrounding the small airways in the lungs, leading to symptoms such as breathlessness and cough,  which, without treatment, steadily worsen over time.

Ofev was approved for IPF in Europe back in January, after data from Phase III trials showed that it slowed disease progression through a 50% reduction in lung function decline over a year across. The drug is also marketed for the treatment of lung cancer, under the brand name Vargatef. 

NICE’s draft guidelines are now open for public consultation until September 29.