The Danish Medicines Agency begins ad hoc reassessment of reimbursement status of glucosamine (M01AX05)

03 March 2011

Clinical studies have called into question the efficacy of glucosamine for the alleviation of painful osteoarthritis (1). This was recently highlighted in a Norwegian study of patients with chronic low back pain and lumbar arthritis (2). Against this background, the Reimbursement Committee, at its meeting on 21 September 2010, encouraged the Danish Medicines Agency to reassess the reimbursement status of glucosamine as soon as possible. In addition, a new meta-analysis has concluded that health authorities ought not to grant reimbursement for glucosamine (3).

Consequently, the Danish Medicines Agency has decided to initiate ad hoc reassessment of glucosamine-containing medicines, which today have general conditional reimbursement when prescribed for the alleviation of symptoms of mild to moderate osteoarthritis and when prescribed to old-age pensioners. Should the Reimbursement Committee recommend to change the reimbursement status of these medicines, we will submit the Committee’s recommendation for consultation to the affected companies, the relevant scientific societies and relevant patient organisations. We have not yet scheduled the reassessment of reimbursement status of the remaining medicines in ATC group M (musculo-skeletal system).

The affected companies, the relevant scientific societies and relevant patient organisations have all been informed of the coming reassessment of glucosamine.

1. Clegg DO, Reda DJ, Harris CL et al. Glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and the two in combination for painful knee osteoarthritis. N Engl J Med. 2006 Feb 23;354(8):795-808.

2. Wilkens P, Scheel IB, Grundnes O et al. Effect of Glucosamine on pain-related disability in patients with chronic low back pain and degenerative lumbar osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2010 Jul 7;304(1):45-52.

3. Wandel S, Jüni P, Tendal B et al. Effects of glucosamine, chondroitin, or placebo in patients with osteoarthritis of hip or knee: network meta-analysis. BMJ. 2010 Sep 16;341:c4675