Ocrevus becomes first NICE-approved therapy on the NHS for primary progressive multiple sclerosis

pharmafile | May 9, 2019 | News story | Sales and Marketing Genentech, NHS, NICE, Ocrevus, UK 

NICE has announced its final appraisal decision on Genentech’s Ocrevus (ocrelizumab), choosing to recommend the drug for use on the NHS in the treatment of early, inflammatory primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS), it has emerged.

PPMS can cause weakness in the limbs which can impede mobility, bladder weakness, and physical and mental fatigue, and the symptoms of the condition gradually worsen over time, eventually leading to increasing levels of disability. Because of this, the latest decision by NICE is crucial and necessary one for patients whose lives are impacted by the condition – data has shown that Ocrevus can delay the time until a patient will need to rely on a wheelchair by up to seven years.  

“Neglected no more […] Today is a significant milestone for the MS community,” commented Gavin Giovannoni, Professor of Neurology at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry. “As healthcare professionals, we are now able to offer some people with PPMS, ocrelizumab (Ocrevus), the first licensed therapy, which has been shown to slow disability progression in this population of patients. This will give people with PPMS hope in delaying the need to rely on mobility aids, wheelchairs and carers to look after them as their disability progresses.”

The decision marks the availability in England and Wales of the first and only licensed treatment for this indication, specifically in those with imaging features characteristic of inflammatory activity in adults.

Richard Erwin, General Manager at Roche Products UK also commented: “Today’s announcement shows that when we work together, we really can make a difference. Alongside patient groups, NHS England and NICE, we have been able to make the first and only licenced treatment for early, inflammatory PPMS, ocrelizumab, available on the NHS. It takes years of research and clinical trials to develop innovative medicines and this news is the culmination of many years’ work from people across Roche and the medical community who are driven by a passion to improve patients’ lives. Roche will continue to speak to the Scottish Medicines Consortium, NHS Wales and NHS Northern Ireland to ensure people with early, inflammatory PPMS across the UK can have access to ocrelizumab as soon as possible.”

Matt Fellows

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