Healthcare: On the Agenda - NICE gives heart drug thumbs-up

In a nutshell

The NHS drugs watchdog has recommended that a drug to help prevent blood clots in heart patients can be used in the UK. Draft recommendations by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) propose the use of Brilique for people who have suffered a heart attack, or have unstable angina. NICE's decision comes even though the drug is 16 times more expensive than the current treatment, clopidogrel.

About the drug

Brilique, also marketed as Brilinta and known generically as ticagrelor, is manufactured by pharma company AstraZeneca. A study published two years ago showed that ticagrelor cut the chance of having a second heart attack by 16 per cent, compared with the current treatment clopidogrel. It showed that ticagrelor reduced the overall chance of dying from cardiovascular disease by 21 per cent.

PR strategy

The NICE in-house press team led the media outreach for the institute's latest guidance on chronic heart failure. It was supported by AstraZeneca's in-house global media team for corporate and financial press in the UK. Red Door Communications also provided media outreach for healthcare trade titles on behalf of the pharma company.

Media coverage

The story was covered widely in the global media. In the UK it was picked up largely across the national, pharma and health trade press. On Thursday 30 June, the story featured in the Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph, on Reuters Newswire and on Wall Street Journal Online.

136k - Annual hospitalisations for heart attack or angina in England and Wales

21% - Reduction in heart disease mortality using ticagrelor.

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