Eli Lilly's once-weekly diabetes drug Trulicity (dulaglutide) has been recommend for restricted routine use on NHS Wales.
The All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG) has put out guidelines endorsing the drug's use to improve glycaemic control in adults with type II diabetes after failure, intolerance or where there is a contraindication to, standard triple therapy (metformin and two other antidiabetic medicines) as an alternative to insulin therapy.
The drug can also be used in combination with other glucose-lowering medicinal products but not including insulin, when these, together with diet and exercise, do not provide adequate glycaemic control, the cost watchdog said.
More than 180,000 people in Wales have diabetes, and a further 70,000 are thought be have undiagnosed type II diabetes. An additional 540,000 carry a high risk of developing the condition, and this figure is "rising rapidly" every year, Lilly notes.
"Living with diabetes is not easy and in practice we see many patients who have not yet been able to obtain optimal glycaemic control and require additional glucose-lowering medication," said Professor Steve Bain, assistant medical director for R&D for ABM University Health Board and Clinical Lead for the Diabetes Research Network, Wales.
The AWMSG's backing of Trulicity is "good news as there is now an additional treatment option in Wales to help people better manage their diabetes," he noted.
Trulicity is a once-weekly glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist injectable, that help the body release its own insulin on eating. AWMSG backing follows a decision by the Scottish Medicines Consortium to allow the drug's use for adults with type II diabetes on the NHS in January.