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Scotland approves three new meds for NHS use

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

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The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has published new advice accepting three new medicines for use by NHS Scotland, offering patients new treatment options for soft tissue sarcoma, acromegaly and hepatitis C.

Eli Lilly's Lartruvo (olaratumab) was accepted for the treatment of advanced soft tissue sarcoma, a rare type of cancer that affects the soft, supportive tissues of the body such as muscles, blood vessels and fat tissue.

Specifically, the drug, which is given alongside the chemotherapy doxorubicin, is for use in patients who cannot undergo curative surgery or radiotherapy.

Lartruvo was considered through the SMC's Patient and Clinician Engagement (PACE) process for medicines used to treat very rare and end of life conditions, during which it was highlighted that sarcoma often occurs in younger patients who may have significant work and family commitments and that Lartruvo can improve overall survival.

Also put through the PACE process was Pfizer's Somavert (pegvisomant), with funding approved to treat acromegaly, a rare condition usually caused by a non-cancerous tumour on the pituitary gland.

The SMC noted that during the PACE meeting patient groups and clinicians spoke of how the condition cause significant symptoms, including extreme fatigue, joint pain and excess growth, and that Somavert provides a treatment option with a different side effect profile for patients where previous therapies have not been successful.

Some patients receive radiation therapy but it can take years for this to be fully effective and the drug may reduce the signs and symptoms of acromegaly until the benefits of radiation are fully realised, it said.

Also accepted was AbbVie's Maviret (glecaprevir/pibrentasivir) for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C. Maviret is a once-daily regimen that combines two distinct antiviral agents - the NS3/4A protease inhibitor glecaprevir (300mg) and NS5A inhibitor pibrentasvir (120mg) - dosed once-daily as three oral tablets and shown in trials to cure the virus in just eight weeks.

On the downside, Horizon Pharma's Procysbi (mercaptamine) for nephropathic (kidney) cystinosis was not recommended, as the company's evidence on the clinical and economic benefits of using the medicine "was not strong enough when compared to the current treatment option," the SMC said.

Also rejected was Teva's biologic Cinqaero (reslizumab) to treat eosinophilic asthma, as the Committee "was not satisfied about its cost effectiveness in relation to other similar preparations."

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Source: Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC)
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