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Brussels gives go-ahead to Glaxo lupus drug


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European Commission regulators have given GlaxoSmithKline the green light to market its treatment for Benlysta, the first new approach for 40 years in the treatment of lupus. It could be available for private prescription in Britain by September, although its cost could be a problem for the NHS. No price has been decided for Britain but GSK charges $35,000 (£21,700) a year for it in the United States. The support group Lupus UK is lobbying the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, which rules on value for money, to pay for Benlysta. The American company Human Genome Sciences signed a pact with GSK in 2006 to develop the drug. The GSK chief executive Andrew Witty has said that he favours multiple collaborations with fellow drugs companies to "de-risk" the process of developing new medicines.

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