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Legal challenge launched against NICE osteoporosis guidance

By Andrew Bracey

NICE faces a major challenge to its osteoporosis guidance as the drug company Servier launches a judicial review of drug treatments appraisals today.

The legal challenge follows a storm of protest over technology appraisals released last year by NICE that were described by its own advisers as 'out of date', 'unworkable' and saw them recommend GPs follow rival National Osteoporosis Guidelines.

NICE recommends patients who are unable to tolerate bisphosophonates must wait for their BMD to drop below T-scores of 2.5 or below before they can be prescribed an alternative to alendronate.

In a statement, Servier claimed the guidelines would potentially leave the 15% of women with osteoporosis who could not tolerate bisphosophonates unprotected from risk fractures for many years.

'We understand and acknowledge the role of NICE, but frustratingly the organisation continues to ignore the concerns expressed by many leading healthcare professionals and patient organisations,' said Servier CEO Michael Sumpter.

The review is expected to take two to three days with an announcement on the judiciary's determination likely to follow within two to six weeks.

Nick Rijke, Director of Public and External Affairs at the National Osteoporosis Society, said: 'The Department of Health should intervene and force NICE back to the drawing board. We want a fresh approach from NICE that takes proper account of the evidence and treats osteoporosis patients fairly. Though osteoporosis mainly affects older people, that is not a reason for the Government or their agencies to turn their backs on a condition that affects millions.'

Osteoporosis: NICE facing legal challenge Osteoporosis: NICE facing legal challenge

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