The U.K.'s National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has opined for the second time that beta interferons and glatiramer not be used by Britain's National Health Service for multiple sclerosis therapy, arguing that their modest clinical benefit is outweighed by the cost of treatment. While NICE may simply be seen as promulgating a policy of "just saying no to drugs," there are hints that it may be using its pulpit to badger drug companies into negotiating lower prices.

NICE last week released a provisional recommendation that beta interferon and glatiramer be used only in those patients already receiving them - about 3% of the U.K. population. Typically, about 12% of MS patients are eligible for the drugs