Six new drugs get green light from SMC for routine use by NHS Scotland

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Six new treatments, including those for blood cancer, skin cancer and high cholesterol, are among six new medicines accepted for routine use in Scotland by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC).


  • Alirocumab (Praluent) was accepted for the treatment of high cholesterol in patients at high cardiovascular risk in whom standard drug therapy has not lowered cholesterol levels adequately. Alirocumab will be prescribed by specialists and is administered by fortnightly injections.  
  • Ibrutinib (Imbruvica) was accepted for the treatment of mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) after consideration under SMC’s Patient and Clinician Engagement process (PACE) for medicines that treat end of life and very rare conditions. MCL is an extremely rare, incurable, aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) (a cancer of the white blood cells). The Committee also accepted a submission for ibrutinib for a sub-group of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) and rare genetic abnormalities (17p deletion or TP53 mutation).
  • Insulin degludec (Tresiba), for the treatment of diabetes in adults. Insulin degludec is a long acting insulin administered by injection which offers another treatment option.
  • Levofloxacin (Quinsair), an inhaled antibiotic, was accepted for the treatment of long-term infections caused by the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa in adults who have cystic fibrosis. 
  • Nivolumab (Opdivo) is an immunotherapy that can be used to treat advanced melanoma (a form of skin cancer). The Committee accepted nivolumab for use in patients who have not been previously treated with ipilimumab (another medicine used to treat melanoma). Nivolumab has been shown to delay the progression of skin cancer and also has different side-effects to some existing medicines, increasing the range of potential options for patients.
  • Secukinumab (Cosentyx) was accepted for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis, an inflammatory joint disorder associated with the skin disease psoriasis. Psoriatic arthritis usually develops between the ages of 30 and 50, causing stiffness, pain and lack of movement in affected joints which can be irreversible and lead to disability. Secukinumab offers another option for those patients who have not responded to previous therapies.


Professor Jonathan Fox, chairman of the SMC Committee said: “The Committee is pleased to be able to accept these six new medicines for routine use by NHS Scotland, and we hope that patients will benefit from them.”