Bloomberg News

Boehringer’s Pradaxa Wins U.K. Agency’s Backing in Stroke

March 14, 2012

Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH (BING)’s Pradaxa blood thinner won the recommendation of the U.K.’s medical-cost regulator to prevent strokes in people with a type of irregular heartbeat.

Any decision about whether to start treatment with Pradaxa, chemically known as dabigatran, should be made after an “informed discussion about the risks and benefits of dabigatran compared with warfarin,” a half-century-old generic blood thinner that requires monitoring, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence said today in a statement announcing its final guidance on the drug.

Boehringer, based in Ingelheim, Germany, beat U.S. competitors Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Pfizer Inc. (PFE) and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. to the U.S. market with Pradaxa, the first pill to replace warfarin. Unlike warfarin, Pradaxa doesn’t require frequent blood tests to monitor treatment, making it a “useful alternative option” for patients, NICE said.

Trials have shown that 150 milligrams of the drug taken twice daily “is more clinically effective than warfarin in reducing the risk of stroke or systemic embolism,” Carole Longson, director of NICE’s health technology evaluation center, said in a statement. “We are pleased, therefore, to be able to recommend dabigatran as a cost-effective option for the prevention of stroke and systemic embolism in people with atrial fibrillation.”

NICE advises the U.K.’s state-run National Health Service on which treatments represent value for money as the government works to save on medical expenses.

To contact the reporter on this story: Makiko Kitamura in London at mkitamura1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Phil Serafino at pserafino@bloomberg.net


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