Healthcare: On the agenda - Osteoporosis jab on the NHS

- In a nutshell

A six-monthly jab for the crippling bone disorder osteoporosis is to be made available on the NHS. Prolia, which costs £1 a day, could be an option for women who cannot tolerate existing medication for the brittle bone disease because its side effects include serious stomach problems. The drug has now been approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.

- Why is the treatment so important?

An estimated 170,000 women a year are unable to take bisphosphonates, the most widely available drug to combat osteoporosis, but their bones may deteriorate further without treatment.

- What are the main benefits of the treatment?

Amgen and GlaxoSmithKline, which are co-marketing Prolia, welcomed NICE's decision. Amgen general manager John Kearney said the drug was 'highly effective in preventing fractures caused by osteoporosis'. Dr Alun Cooper, a GP in Crawley, West Sussex, said: 'The new drug could offer an alternative treatment option to patients for whom oral bisphosphonates are unsuitable.'

- PR strategy

The NICE board issued a press release from its London press office after it had approved the drug. The National Osteoporosis Society also sent out a press release.

- Media coverage

The story was picked up by media across the world, including TopNews in New Zealand and FrenchTribune,as well as the Daily Mail and the Press Association in the UK.

170k - Number of women who cannot use conventional osteoporosis treatments

£1 - Daily cost of injecting Prolia, the new drug

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