Teva's Ajovy scores backing from England's cost watchdogs

In draft guidance, Teva's Ajovy scored a backing from England's cost watchdog. (Teva)

Teva Pharmaceutical’s launch for migraine prevention med Ajovy has run into some tough competition in the U.S., but, across the pond, the rollout just got a big boost. 

England’s cost watchdogs, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), endorsed the medicine in a preliminary decision that, if it stands, will allow about 10,000 patients access to the drug. Teva offered up a confidential discount to secure the agency’s backing. 

The drug costs about £5,000 per year in England before any discounts. 

After a review of the data, NICE experts found that Ajovy beats supportive care—typically treating acute pain—for patients who have already tried three preventive options. The experts couldn’t conclude whether it’s better than Allergan’s Botox at preventing chronic migraine, but reviewers backed the drug for patients who haven’t had success with Botox. 

But NICE has conditions. Under the guidance, patients should stop taking Ajovy if their migraine frequency doesn’t improve by at least 30% following 12 weeks of treatment. The draft guidance is open to comment, and NICE says the final guidance will likely be published next month.

RELATED: Teva's Ajovy finally gets its autoinjector nod. Can it close the gap with Amgen, Lilly meds? 

NICE is “pleased that the company has been able to work with us to address the concerns highlighted in the previous draft guidance,” Meindert Boysen, director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, said in a statement. Last November, NICE recommended against using the med in patients who suffer at least four migraines per month.  

The decision marks a win for Teva’s important Ajovy rollout, which hasn’t kept pace with the competition in the U.S. Ajovy generated $93 million in sales last year, compared with $306 million for Amgen and Novartis’ Aimovig and $162 million for Eli Lilly’s Emgality.

RELATED: NICE rejects Novartis' Aimovig on data 'uncertainty' despite migraine benefits 

In England, Aimovig failed to win NICE backing, and NICE hasn’t yet completed draft guidance for Lilly’s Emgality.