Cholesterol-lowering drug to be offered to thousands on the NHS

The treatment will be rolled out to those who have already suffered a heart attack or stroke

A cholesterol-lowering drug that could save tens of thousands of lives over the next decade will be offered to people on the NHS.

Inclisiran, described as a “game-changer”, is hoped to prevent thousands of heart attacks and strokes, in the coming years.

It will be rolled out to hundreds of thousands of people with high cholesterol or mixed dyslipidemia – abnormally high levels of fats in their blood – who have already suffered a heart attack or stroke.

The initial dose of the drug will be administered via an injection in GP surgeries across England, followed by another three months later, and then twice a year thereafter.

Inclisiran is the first of a new type of cholesterol-lowering treatment RNA interference to help the liver remove harmful cholesterol from the blood.

While the National Institute for Health Care and Excellence said there is no long-term evidence on Inclisiran’s impact on cardiovascular outcomes, it is considered cost-effective in people who have suffered previous cardiovascular trauma as well as those who have not experienced a cardiovascular event.

NHS England estimates around 300,000 people will receive Inclisiran over the next three years, helping to prevent 55,000 heart attacks and strokes, and potentially saving 30,000 lives in the next decade.

The health service struck a “population health agreement” deal with manufacturers which could eventually see nearly half a million people benefit from the treatment.

More than two in five people in England have high cholesterol, while heart disease accounts for a quarter of deaths in England each year.

NHS chief executive, Amanda Pritchard, said: “This world-leading deal for the rollout of Inclisiran will save lives and enable hundreds of thousands of people to benefit from this revolutionary treatment, while also being fair for taxpayers.

“Heart disease is still one of the major killer conditions so it is fantastic that we now have such an effective and convenient treatment for those living with dangerously high cholesterol levels.”

The deputy chief executive, Meindert Boysen, said: “Inclisiran represents a potential game-changer in preventing thousands of people from dying prematurely from heart attacks and strokes.

“We’re therefore pleased to be able to recommend it as a cost-effective option on the NHS support by the ground-breaking deal between NHS England and NHS Improvement and Novartis – a deal that could see as many as 300,000 people with high cholesterol or mixed dyslipidaemia who have already had a previous cardiovascular event receive the drug over  the next three years.”

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