An asthma drug for children will not be made available on the NHS after the regulator ruled that it was too expensive to justify.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence said Xolair was not cost effective, pointing out that it failed to reduce “hospitalisation rates, accident and emergency visits, symptom-free days and nights … or health-related quality of life”.

But asthma charities called the decision “very disappointing”, with Dr Mike Thomas, chief medical adviser to Asthma UK, urging NICE to look again at the product “as a matter of priority”.

Earlier research on the £12,000 per patient per year drug showed that a 12-month course had the potential to halve the number of asthma attacks suffered.

It is already available in Scotland.