UK Watchdog Backs New Drugs for Severe Arthritis

LONDON (Reuters) Mar 22 – Britain's National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) on Friday recommended that two costly new treatments for rheumatoid arthritis should be given on the state health service to patients who have not responded to conventional drugs.
Industry sources had previously told Reuters that NICE would back the two products – Remicade (infliximab), made by Johnson & Johnson, and Immunex Corp.'s Enbrel (etanercept). Both drugs work by blocking a chemical in the body called tumour necrosis factor (TNF), which is thought to play an important role in driving the inflammation and tissue damage of rheumatoid arthritis.

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