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NICE revises decision to restrict drugs for relapsing MS

NICE has changed its initial proposal and decided that Avonex, Extavia, Rebif, Copaxone and Brabio should continue to be available on the NHS in England. Betaferon has been rejected and will no longer be available. Plegridy will be assessed separately.

NICE has published its final decision on the use of glatiramer acetate and the five beta interferon drugs by the NHS in England in new patients. 

  • Avonex and Rebif (interferon beta 1a), Extavia (interferon beta 1b), Copaxone and Brabio (glatiramer acetate) are recommended for treating relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis in the NHS
  • Plegridy (pegylated interferon beta 1a) will be assessed separately
  • Betaferon (interferon beta 1b) is not recommended

The decision affects only those people starting on these drugs.  If you are already taking one of them, you will not be affected and can continue without change.

The other disease modifying drugs are not affected by this decision and will continue to be available (AubagioTecfideraGilenyaMavencladTysabri and Lemtrada).

This is a significant change from NICE’s initial decision in December which recommended just Extavia. When NICE consulted on this decision, the MS Trust responded in the strongest possible terms, arguing that two vital issues - differences in ease of use of beta interferons and safety in pregnancy - had not been taken into account. 

Read our response to NICE.

"We are very pleased that NICE has revised its earlier decision. 


Our response was considerably strengthened by the views of over 500 people with MS and over 100 health professionals – hearing your views was incredibly helpful, thank you very much for your input! 


We remain fully committed to supporting people with MS to get the best and most appropriate treatment for them."

Jo Sopala, Director of Development