Close-up of a pharmacist's hand holding a medicine box

Scottish Medicines Consortium approves five new treatments

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has approved five new treatments for use in the NHS in Scotland.

The first recommendation comes in the form of pembrolizumab, which has been accepted as a treatment for patients with persistent, recurrent, or metastatic cervical cancer. The drug was evaluated via the SMC’s Patient and Clinician Engagement (PACE) process, which is designated for palliative medicines or ones that treat rare conditions.

Also considered through the PACE process was nivolumab, which has been approved for the treatment of patients with muscle invasive bladder cancer.

An initial assessment report has also been released on burosumab, which treats adults with a rare genetic condition called X-linked hypophosphataemia – the symptoms of which include anything from early osteoarthritis and an increased risk of osteoporosis all the way to bone fractures and rickets.

Burosumab will be made available for three years whilst more evidence is collected, after which the SMC will complete another review and decide whether the medication should be made routinely available on the Scottish NHS. Burosumab was assessed via the ultra-orphan pathway, which is for medicines that treat extremely rare conditions.

The SMC also approved the use of eptinezumab as another option to treat the prophylaxis of migraine in adults who experience at least four migraine days per month and who’s current treatment isn’t working.

Finally, the SMC has also accepted upadacitinib which treats a form of inflammatory spinal arthritis that adults suffer from called active non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis.

SMC’s Chairman, Mark MacGregor, said: “We are pleased to be able to accept pembrolizumab for the treatment of cervical cancer and nivolumab for bladder cancer. The committee is aware that delaying progression of the disease for as long as possible is very valuable to patients and families.

“Adults will now gain access to burosumab while the company gathers additional evidence to inform a decision in three years. X-linked hypophosphataemia is a chronic and severely debilitating condition that causes pain and fatigue and is life limiting for patients.

“The costs of burosumab are very high relative to the identified benefits and this additional time will give the company the opportunity to provide greater certainty around the benefits for patients.”

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NHE May/June 2024

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