Norgine’s hepatic encephalopathy therapy Targaxan will be available to patients in England and Wales following its approval by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

The cost watchdog has published positive final draft guidance on Targaxan (rifaximin), for the brain condition caused by liver failure that affects around 10,000 patients in the UK. NICE’s independent appraisal committee mconsidered evidence from the company, clinical and patient experts and has decided it can be paid for.

Carole Longson, director of the NICE Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, said “new evidence became available which allowed us to recommend rifaximin”. She noted that “this serious brain condition has far-reaching effects on people with the condition and their families and carers. It can be serious, even fatal”.

People affected may have to go into hospital regularly, Prof Longson added, saying that Targaxan “can prevent these life-threatening episodes and improve people’s quality of life".

Real world data

Peter Martin, Norgine’s chief operating officer, said the firm is very pleased “the true value of Targaxan has been recognised. It is a reflection
of the value this medicine brings to patients, carers and the healthcare system, as demonstrated in the real world data that was submitted”.

Richard Hall, co-founder of the charity Liver4Life, said treatment is extremely limited for patients with HE “with no other new options being made available since lactulose was launched in 1969.” Andrew Langford, chief executive of the British Liver Trust, added that rifaximin “offers an invaluable treatment” for HE.

Rifaximin is available as 550 mg film-coated tablets at a net price of £259.23 per 56-tablet pack, excluding VAT. It is administered orally at a recommended dose of 550 mg twice daily and Norgine estimated an average cost of £1,689.65 for six months of treatment.