SUNDAY, JUNE 24, 2018

JCVI does not recommend meningitis B vaccine for immunization program

Novartis announced on Thursday that the United Kingdom Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is not recommending Bexsero for inclusion in the National Immunisation Programme.

The JCVI is taking this stand because Bexsero is unlikely to prove cost-effective based on the current method of evaluation. The position taken was an interim one and a final position will be reached at a later point.

"The interim position by the JCVI is inconsistent with its recommendations for other meningococcal vaccines," Andrin Oswald, division head of Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, said. "The meningitis C vaccination campaign in the UK, following JCVI recommendation, was a tremendous public health success saving thousands from serious illness and death. It is disappointing to see that the decision was mostly driven by financial considerations and without any pricing discussion with Novartis. The evaluation model does not do justice to the vaccine's ability to prevent babies and young children from dying or surviving with severe lifelong disabilities."

The European Medicines Agency licensed Bexsero for active immunization in January 2013. Bexsero is intended for people older than two months of age and used to combat the invasive meningococcal disease caused by the Neisseria meningitidis group.

Novartis plans to provide financial information on the cost base of Bexsero before the final decision can be made. Novartis plans to include within their cost base analysis the belief that evaluating Bexsero on cost-effectiveness alone does not fully capture the lifetime benefits of disease prevention.