Current Edition

Kidney Research UK concerned by NICE process

Organisation believes the guidance would leave renal patients with no effective treatment outside the hospital.

Kidney Research UK has responded to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) draft guidance on therapeutics for patients with COVID-19.

It follows the regulatory body’s decision to significantly reduce the number of treatments available. The charity moved to highlight the evidence that failed to consider the impact on high-risk patients and also strongly supported the case for fast-tracking potential COVID-19 treatments.

In addition, it highlighted that the studies used did not accurately reflect the population who would benefit from treatment, with recommendations based on evidence from a general hospitalised group, rather than a population of immunosuppressed individuals.

Currently, kidney disease patients are only he only being offered Paxlovid by NICE, which is not suitable and could be harmful.

In response, the charity has called on the Government to provide COVID-19 treatments in a similar manner to the original introduction of vaccines by incorporating them into wider clinical practice. Indeed, in its formal response, the charity emphasised that the structures of NICE approval generally lack the flexibility to deal with an ever-changing situation.

Alison Railton, head of policy and external affairs at Kidney Research UK, explained: “Kidney patients have been horribly let down by this draft recommendation and we do not believe that the current NICE framework is the appropriate mechanism to deal with an evolving virus. Patients should not be forced once again to choose between withdrawing from society to shield themselves from infection or risking severe outcomes from COVID-19 infection without adequate treatment options.

“The Government has a duty to treat immunosuppressed patients with the same urgency as the rest of the population and fast-track new antiviral treatments at a similar speed to which they successfully deployed mRNA vaccines,” she added.

Miranda Scanlon, chair of Kidney Research UK’s Lay Advisory Group, concluded: “As a kidney patient myself, I’m very concerned that the NICE draft guidance only recommends one treatment for COVID-19 outside of the hospital – a drug which many kidney patients are not able to take. We already know that our response to vaccines is reduced and now we are being denied effective treatment if we catch COVID-19. This leaves us once again vulnerable and abandoned.”