The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended Pfizer’s Xeljanz (tofacitinib) for the treatment of people with juvenile idiopathic arthritis in final draft guidance.

In its guidance, NICE has recommended Xeljanz for as an option for treating active polyarticular juvenile arthritis and juvenile psoriatic arthritis in people aged two years and older.

The therapy is also available for young people whose arthritis has not responded adequately to disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) if a tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha inhibitor is not suitable or inadequately controls their condition, or the if Pfizer provides Xeljanz according to the commercial arrangement.

Following positive NICE nod, Xeljanz becomes the second drug to be recommended as part of NICE’s new approach to the cost comparison fast track appraisal process.

This pilot programme uses a subset of the appraisal committee to assess low-risk treatments, comparing them to ‘similar therapies’ that the cost-effectiveness watchdog has previously appraised.

Following this, the sub-committee can make a recommendation without the requirement of a full committee meeting.

“I am very pleased NICE has been able to recommend tofacitinib for young people with this form of arthritis. Tofacitinib has the potential to help young people with this condition be more able to take part in some physical activities and sports, which will significantly help improve their quality of life,” said Meindert Boysen, deputy chief executive and director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE.

“I am also pleased the company worked with NICE and our independent appraisal committee to supply evidence which meant we could not only make a positive recommendation, but one which fast-tracks access for this group of people in the NHS,” he added.