Seven drugs approved for NHS Scotland use
Cost regulators in Scotland have given their endorsement to NHS Scotland use of seven new drugs including treatments for blood cancer, ovarian cancer and hepatitis C.
The medications and their uses are listed below:
• Avastin (bevacizumab) from Roche can now be routinely used by ovarian cancer patients, although only when combined with paclitaxel. But backing from the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC), which follows a rejection earlier in the year, depends upon continued availability of a Patient Access Scheme (PAS) to improve the drug’s cost-effectiveness.
• Elvanse Adult (lisdexamfetamine) from Shire has been endorsed as part of a program of treatment for adults suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder that is at least moderately severe. When the medicine is taken as a once-daily tablet, it can make it easier for patients and their caregivers to monitor and manage treatment.
• Eylea (aflibercept) from Bayer has been green-lighted as a treatment for impaired vision caused by macular oedema that follows blockage of either the main vein carrying blood from the retina (central retinal vein occlusion) or of tinier branch veins (branch retinal vein occlusion). The approval expands the options for improving vision in patients who do not respond or cannot take current therapies. Its acceptance also is dependent on a PAS to secure value for money.
• Harvoni (ledipasvir-sofosbuvir) from Gilead has been approved for use to treat genotype 3 forms of chronic hepatitis C. Currently, there are only a few treatment options for that subset of patients, and ledipasvir-sofosbuvir might offer a potential cure, according to the SMC. The drug currently is available in Scotland for routine treatments of genotypes 1 and 4 of the disease.
• Januvia (sitagliptin) from Merck Sharp & Dohme can now be accessed via NHS Scotland by patients with type II diabetes, who are not maintaining their blood level targets on insulin alone, as a way to help control their disease. Previously, the SMC accepted the drug for use when combined with a sulfonylurea, and for restricted use with metformin and as monotherapy.
• Signifor (pasireotide) from Novartis was approved for the treatment of adults with acromegaly, a rare condition generally caused by a non-cancerous tumor on the pituitary gland. For those patients, surgery either is not an option or has failed; in addition, the patients are inadequately controlled on treatment with a different somatostatin analogue.
• Velcade (bortezomib) from Janssen-Cilag now can be used to treat the aggressive and rare blood cancer mantle cell lymphoma alongside rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin and prednisone, in untreated adults who are unable to have blood stem-cell transplantation. The SMC has said the drug offers patients with limited treatment options the possibility of improvement in quality of life, as well as life expectancy.