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Australian MPs demand more data on dabigatran for atrial fibrillation

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f303 (Published 15 January 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f303
  1. David Brill
  1. 1Sydney

Australia is standing firm on its refusal to fund the high profile new anticoagulant dabigatran (marketed as Pradaxa) for preventing strokes in people with atrial fibrillation.

A long anticipated report from the Department of Health and Ageing, published last month,1 urged the federal government to again postpone a decision on whether taxpayers should fund the new generation anticoagulants until further data were available.

The government followed the recommendation, defying considerable pressure from the public and the manufacturer, Boehringer Ingelheim, in a saga spanning almost two years.

The government has asked the company to gather more data, redo its economic analyses, and restate its case to a March meeting of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, the expert group advising the health minister, Tanya Plibersek, on which drugs to subsidise.

Plibersek said that dabigatran had been used differently in the real world than in clinical trials and that its net benefit and cost …

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