Scotland backs rare cancer meds for use on NHS

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Seven new therapies have been given the green light for use on the National Health Service by the Scottish Medicines Consortium, including three for rare cancers.

First up, patients in Scotland will get NHS access to Ariad Pharmaceuticals’ Iclusig (ponatinib) with chronic myeloid leukaemia and Philadelphia chromosome positive acute leukaemia. The SMC has also backed Bayer’s Stivarga (regorafenib) for adult patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumours that cannot be removed surgically or have spread.

The Consortium has also recommended use of Boehringer Ingelheim’s Vargatef (nintedanib) in combination with the chemotherapy docetaxel to treat adults with a particular type of non-small cell lung cancer (adenocarcinoma) who have already had chemotherapy.

NHS Scotland will also fund Novartis’ Gilenya (fingolimod) to treat adult patients with highly active relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis despite previous treatment with at least one disease modifying therapy and Fresenius’ Velphoro (sucroferric oxyhydroxide), to control phosphorus levels in adults with chronic kidney disease on haemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis.

There was also backing for AstraZeneca’s Duaklir Genuair (Aclidinium/formoterol) for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and Bayer’s intrauterine device Jaydess (levonorgestrel) for birth control.

SMC chairman Jonathan Fox noted that the first three meds were considered under the new PACE (Patient and Clinician Engagement) process used for end of life or very rare conditions. This brings the number of therapies accepted under PACE to 13, with five not recommended.