In final guidance, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has confirmed its recommendation for the use of Biogen Idec’s multiple sclerosis pill Tecfidera.

The National Health Service now has a legal obligation to begin funding Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate) for eligible patients within the next three months, i.e. those who do not have highly active or rapidly evolving severe relapsing–remitting MS. Biogen has agreed a patient access scheme with the Department of Health and the level of the discount is confidential.

Carole Longson, NICE health technology evaluation centre director, noted that evidence has shown Tecfidera “is more effective in reducing relapse rates and just as effective in delaying disability progression compared with current similar treatments”. It will be more convenient for patients to take “than other currently available treatments, which must all be injected [and] will help more people with MS to live a normal life.”

The recommended dosage is 120mg twice daily in the first week of treatment and 240 mg twice daily thereafter. The prices of a pack of 120mg tablets (14 tablets per pack) and 240mg tablets (56 tablets) are £343 and £1373 respectively, though costs may vary because of negotiated procurement discounts.

The recommendation represents a U-turn on NICE's decision to not recommend Tecfidera made in the previous draft consultation document in February.