Patients with ulcerative colitis will be disappointed by news that cost regulators are planning to bar access to three treatments on the National Health Service in England.

Merck, Sharpe & Dohme’s Remicade (infliximab) and Simponi and AbbVie’s Humira (adalimumab) should not be routinely used by the NHS to treat moderate to severe forms of the condition, says the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), because there is not enough evidence to show they are clinically and cost effective compared with other therapies currently available.

However, a consultation on the proposed guideline is now open (until October 15), and the Institute says it welcomes comment from manufacturers and other stakeholders as well as more information that might lead to a more positive recommendation.

The drugs are all licensed to treat moderate to severely active ulcerative colitis in adults who have failed to respond to or are unable to take conventional therapy, while Remicade has also been cleared to treat children and adolescents aged six-17 years.

The cost of Humira induction therapy is £2,113 followed by monthly maintenance therapy of £704, while costs for Simponi and Remicade are £2,289 and £763 (including a Patient Access Scheme) and £5,035 and £210, respectively, though these may vary in different settings because of negotiated procurement discounts.

An estimated 146,000 people in the UK live with ulcerative colitis, a chronic condition in which the large intestine becomes inflamed.

Final guidance is expected in January next year.