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UK's NICE rejects Novartis asthma drug in change of tack

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's health cost-effectiveness watchdog NICE plans to recommend against the use of Novartis's severe asthma drug Xolair, or omalizumab, after earlier endorsing it for adults only.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which decides if medicines should be given on the state health service, said on Friday it had changed its mind in the light of evolving clinical evidence.

"After considering new evidence that has become available since the original guidance was published - particularly new mortality data - the NICE draft guidance does not recommend omalizumab for either adults or children," NICE said.

New dosing recommendations for the drug had also changed its cost-effectiveness, the agency added.

The revised recommendation against using the drug is still at the review stage and NICE said it was now up to Novartis and other interested parties to respond to its concerns.

(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)