The National Institute for Health Care and Excellent (NICE) has rejected Novartis’ migraine drug Aimovig (erenumab) as preventative treatment for migraine in draft guidelines.

The news comes after Aimovig was given approval for use by the European Commission (EC) earlier in July 2018.

Aimovig is one of a new class of CGRP agonist drugs which is already forecast to achieve peak global sales of $1bn a year. NICE however wishes to see more evidence or reduced costs before it permits its routine use on the NHS.

The news comes in spite of a phase IIIb trial entitled ‘LIBERTY’ which examined Aimovig in migraine patients who had tried upto four different medications without success, ultimately showing around two and half times better response rates (30.3% vs 13.7% placebo).

Haseeb Ahmed, manager of Novartis’ UK and Ireland said: “We’re disappointed by this initial decision from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to not recommend Aimovig® (erenumab) for routine use on the NHS, yet welcome the opportunity to further discuss our submission.”

This disappointment is also reflected amongst patients, many of whom have been waiting years for a drug that has significant therapeutic benefit to become available to them.

It is estimated that there are over 600,000 individuals suffering from chronic migraine.

Currently Novartis’ Aimovig already has up-coming competitors such as Lilly’s Emgality (galcanezumab), which received EU approval in November last year.