Scotland’s Medicines Consortium – which acts as a cost-effectiveness hurdle for new drugs – has given the thumbs up to AstraZeneca and Takeda’s Amias (candesartan cilexetil) for use on the country’s National Health Service.

Specifically, it has been given the green light for use in patients with a specific form of chronic heart failure (with left ventricular systolic dysfunction), as an add-on therapy to an ACE inhibitor and for those unable to tolerate an ACE inhibitor. The thumbs up was based on data from the CHARM study, showing Amias reduced deaths and hospital admissions from heart failure – the first angiotensin receptor blocker to demonstrate such a benefit [[10/03/04d]].

Historically, heart failure has a poor prognosis: just under 40% of CHF patients die within a year of their diagnosis and survival rates are worse than those from cancer of the breast, uterus, bladder and prostate, say the companies. The annual cost of heart failure to the NHS in the UK is just over £625 million, consuming 1-2% of the national NHS budget, and the majority of costs are linked to inpatient care. In Scotland, patients with CHF occupy an estimated 140,000 bed days every year, but the statement adds: “As a result of the use of Amias to treat CHF with LVSD, the NHS in Scotland may save as many as 29,500 bed days each year.”