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UK cost agency questions benefits of Sanofi MS pill

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's healthcare cost watchdog wants more information from Sanofi on the effectiveness of its new multiple sclerosis pill Aubagio before deciding if it should be used on the state health service.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which decides if drugs should be paid for by the system, said on Wednesday it had asked the French drugmaker's Genzyme unit to come up with additional information by October 8.

Sanofi has already offered to provide Aubagio at a discount to the National Health Service. The drug's list price is 13,529 pounds ($21,600) per patient a year but the size of the discount has not been disclosed.

NICE, whose decisions are monitored by health authorities around the world, has a reputation for taking a tough line when deciding if new medicines offer value for money.

Aubagio is one of two new multiple sclerosis (MS) drugs that Sanofi is hoping will drive future sales growth. Its injectable treatment Lemtrada was approved by the European Commission on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Louise Heavens)