UK’s NHS Encourages Repurposing of Drugs Targeting COVID-19—Why haven’t we Seen More Activity?

UK’s NHS Encourages Repurposing of Drugs Targeting COVID-19—Why haven’t we Seen More Activity?

Recently, the United Kingdom’s health system, known as NHS, shared their position on the use of repurposed medicines for addressing COVID-19. Introducing recent examples such as tocilizumab, this arthritis drug has been studied on a number of occasions with mixed results; however, most recently, TrialSite reported on the prominent RECOVERY trial sponsored by University of Oxford that the drug in fact lowered the COVID-19 death rate, evidencing some statistically significant advantage for those COVID-19 patients experiencing low oxygen levels with significant inflammation. The use of repurposing in the UK, such as tocilizumab, was supported in 2017 when the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) released a report called ‘Facilitating adoption of off-patent repurposed medicines into NHS clinical practice.’ With an eye on supporting the identification of  COVID-19 repurposed medicinal opportunities via more research and additional licensing constructs for what could be off-label medicine, the NHS sought to bring more systematic rigor and overall exposure to this important activity for the benefit of patient communities. 

Also, NHS England and Improvement (NHSEI) and addi...

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