Cost regulators have approved the routine use of Boehringer Ingelheim’s Ofev as a treatment for some patients with the lung-scarring disease idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis on the NHS in England and Wales. 

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has issued final guidelines allowing the drug to be considered for IPF patients with a forced vital capacity between 50% and 80% of predicted, but only if it is provided with the discount agreed in the patient access scheme.

The Institute has also stipulated that treatment should be stopped if the disease progresses in any 12 month period.

IPF is thought to be diagnosed in around 5,000 UK patients every year. The potentially fatal disease causes damage and scarring to the tissue surrounding the small airways in the lungs, leading to symptoms such as breathlessness and cough, which, without treatment, steadily worsen over time.

Ofev (nintedanib) was approved for IPF in Europe back in January, on the back of Phase III data showing that it slowed disease progression through a 50% reduction in lung function decline over a year across.

The drug is also marketed for the treatment of lung cancer, under the brand name Vargatef.