The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has published final guidance recommending the use of Bayer’s anti-blood clotting drug Xarelto (rivaroxaban) on the National Health Service.

Specifically, the NHS will be reimbursed for the drug when it is used by doctors to prevent venous thromboembolism in adults who have undergone a “planned” total hip replacement or total knee replacement.

According to NICE, deep vein thrombosis occurs in over 20% of surgical patients and over 40% of patients undergoing major orthopaedic surgery. DVT can lead to venous thromboembolism – when the clot becomes dislodged and enters the blood stream – which can be fatal if the clot gets stuck in the lungs.

Xarelto, which was developed by Bayer and US drug group Johnson & Johnson, has been designed to prevent the formation of DVT in the first place through the inhibition of Factor Xa, an enzyme essential for the formation of blood clots.

The Institute’s evaluation of Xarelto has concluded that giving the drug to patients shortly after surgery to prevent DVT is a cost-effective use of NHS resources, which is great news for Bayer as it has pinned high hopes on the blood thinner, forecasting total sales of around 2 billion euros a year from all its indications.