NICE climbdown over anti-flu drug Relenza
Elderly people in care homes are among those who will benefit from a change of heart by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) with regard to the anti-flu drug Relenza. NICE reversed a decision last year not to make the drug available on the NHS, and now says that people over 65, those with respiratory disease, those with lowered resistance to infection (for example, those with diabetes) should have access to the drug when flu is “circulating in the community”. Official guidelines suggest that this occurs when 50 to 400 cases of flue occur per 100,000 GP consultations. Vaccination remains the mainstay of preventing flu in all those at risk, but Relenza will, in some patients, reduce the chances of developing flu, and may reduce the length and severity of the illness.