Scotland approves three new medicines

pharmafile | July 13, 2021 | News story | Manufacturing and Production  

The SMC has approved three new medicines; atezolizumab to treat adult patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC, a type of liver cancer); ofatumumab to treat relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS); and bempedoic acid for use in some patients with high levels of fats in the blood, including cholesterol.

 Atezolizumab was considered through SMC’s Patient and Clinician Engagement (PACE) process, which is used for medicines for end of life and rare conditions.

 PACE participants spoke of the devastating impact HCC has on patients, including fatigue, pain, and ascites (an abnormal build-up of fluid in the abdomen which can make it difficult to eat and breathe). There is currently no cure.

 Atezolizumab is used in combination with bevacizumab, this combination treatment may be better tolerated than the currently available treatments, allowing patients to maintain their quality of life and remain independent for longer.

Patients who respond to atezolizumab may also live longer than those receiving current treatments.

Ofatumumab offers another treatment option for RRMS patients and has the potential to reduce relapse rates, slow disease progression, and improve quality of life.

It’s offered as a monthly self-injection and the treatment may minimise the burden for many people with RRMS and reduces the need for regular hospital visits.

 Bempedoic acid is used in patients who have primary hypercholesterolaemia or mixed dyslipidaemia.

 The orally administered tablet is used in combination with ezetimibe, another cholesterol lowering medicine. This provides a treatment option when ezetimibe alone doesn’t lower cholesterol adequately and no other treatments are available.

 SMC Chairman, Mark MacGregor, said: “I am pleased the committee has been able to accept these three medicines for use by NHSScotland.”

“Participants in our PACE meeting for atezolizumab told us of the devastating impact of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a type of liver cancer, on patients and their families. We know availability of this medicine will be welcomed and we hope it may allow patients to enjoy a better quality of life.”

“Ofatumumab offers patients with relapsing-remitting MS, another treatment option with the benefit of a monthly self-injection.”

 “Our decision on bempedoic acid provides a treatment option for certain patients with high cholesterol when no other treatments are available.”

 “We were unable to accept tafamidis as the evidence provided by the company was not strong enough to satisfy the committee of its cost effectiveness.”

Lilly Subbotin


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