SMC approves Novartis breast cancer drug in Scotland

Women in Scotland with advanced breast cancer will now have access to Afinitor® (everolimus), a breast cancer treatment from Novartis.

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has accepted everolimus for use within NHS Scotland in women with advanced breast cancer.

Everolimus, in combination with exemestane, is indicated for use in postmenopausal women with HR+/HER2- advanced breast cancer without symptomatic visceral organ disease following recurrence or progression following treatment with a non-steroidal aromatise inhibitor.

Novartis recognised an unmet need for this group of patients in Scotland. Everolimus was licensed in 2009 in this particular patient group, but has not been available to patients in Scotland before now.

Before everolimus was accepted by the SMC, the only alternative treatment was chemotherapy.

This decision follows a swift resubmission by Novartis to the SMC after everolimus failed to get recommendation in October 2015. Everolimus was the fourth medicine for women with advanced breast cancer to be rejected for use in Scotland at that time over a 12-month period and treatment options were limited for these patients.

Through the agreement of a Patient Access Scheme (PAS) and continued communication, the SMC has now revised its decision.

This positive recommendation highlights the increased emphasis on the views of patients and clinicians through the Patient and Clinician Engagement (PACE) process.

Barbara McLaughlan, Head of External Affairs, Novartis Oncology UK and Ireland, said: “We’re delighted with this outcome, which reflects how the new SMC evaluation process is making a positive difference for people living with cancer in Scotland.”