Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Johnson & Johnson's Nasal Spray Rejected in England Over Cost-Effectiveness

By Mark Prvulovic - Jan 28, 2020 at 5:59PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

The company's new depression treatment failed to win approval from NICE.

One of Britain's top healthcare agencies, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), announced on Tuesday that the group had decided to reject Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ 0.42%) depression nasal-spray Spravato due to questions regarding its efficacy as well as cost-effectiveness.

NICE is responsible for determining whether a drug gets included in Britain's National Healthcare System (NHS), and for the past while has come down hard on drug candidates over the question of cost-effectiveness. Although this is a blow to Johnson & Johnson, the decision isn't necessarily final as of this moment. NICE's initial conclusion is open to comment from Johnson & Johnson until Feb. 18, and an appraisal committee meeting is expected to take place soon.

A person holding a nasal spray with several other sprays in the background.

Image source: Getty Images.

"Estimates of the costs of providing the clinical service for esketamine were highly uncertain, as are the costs of repeated courses of the drug," said Meindert Boysen, director of NICE's center for health technology evaluation.

Spravato's cost-effectiveness and efficacy

This isn't the first time that JNJ's Spravato was criticized for its cost. Back in May 2019, the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, a healthcare cost watchdog, criticized the company for supposedly overpricing the nasal spray. Spravato can cost up to $6,785 for the first month of a patient's dosing schedule.

Although Spravato has done well in five separate phase 3 trials, NICE argued that the nasal spray doesn't have enough data when pitted against "all relevant comparators." This includes treatments such as electroconvulsive therapy as well as various antidepressant/antipsychotic medications. The agency also mentioned that they were unsure about whether any improvements in symptoms would remain even after patients stopped taking Spravato.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Johnson & Johnson Stock Quote
Johnson & Johnson
$178.82 (0.42%) $0.74

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 05/18/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.