In the final draft guidance by cost regulators, patients in England and Wales who have suffered a specific kind of heart attack (STEMI) have been provided access to the drug Angiox by The Medicines Company on the National Health Service.
For the patients who have suffered STEMI (ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction), The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is advocating the use of the drug Angiox (bivalirudin). It has also deemed the use of this drug cost effective when it is administered along with aspirin and clopidogrel for those patients who are undergoing primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).
The cause of STEMI heart attack is the ripping of the cholesterol rich deposits along the artery walls. This ripping off of the deposits sets free the blood clots which then block the arteries and this consequently results in damage to the muscles of the heart. The current treatment procedure of STEMI involves reopening the blocked arteries by dissolving the cholesterol deposits using proper medication and through PCI (percutaneous coronary intervention). PCI is a surgical procedure in which wires or balloons or stents are inserted into the blocked arteries in order to open them up. It busts the clots and thus the blocked arteries are opened up.
The drug Angiox is an anticoagulant, which is given during the treatment by PCI. It is given to thin the blood and prevent it from clotting and blocking up the arteries. According to the appraisal committee formed by The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, Agniox is more effective and proves to be less expensive than the conventional method of treatment using a combination of the drug heparin and a glycoprotein inhibitor.
Carole Longson, the Heath Technology Evaluation Centre Director at The National Institute of Health and clinical Excellence, expressed his views about the drug Angiox and said that the use of this drug decreases the incidences of bleeding during PCI as compared to the conventional treatment using heparin. He also said that the use of bivalirudin has reported fewer incidences of deaths during the treatment of patients of STEMI.
All these evidences in favor of Agniox have shown that it is appropriate to move this drug to the final stage of its development and make it available to the patient of STEMI. NICE aims to develop the drug fast so that patients can be helped and be given a quicker access to the treatment.