Patients in Scotland with thyroid cancer and lung cancer are among those who will get routine NHS access to new treatment options after five medicines were accepted by the Scottish Medicines Consortium.
The cost-watchdog has cleared use of Eisai's Lenvima (lenvatinib) to treat the rare cancer thyroid carcinoma, when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body and does not respond to conventional treatment with radioactive iodine. The drug may improve progression-free survival compared to existing treatment and is also associated with a different side-effect profile which some patients may find more manageable, and has the potential to retain or improve good quality of life, the SMC noted.
However, the advice takes into account a patient access scheme (PAS) that improves the drug's cost effectiveness.
Bristol-Myers Squibb's Opdivo (nivolumab) was endorsed as an option for non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). During the process, patient groups and clinicians highlighted that patients tend to be diagnosed with late stage disease and often have a poor prognosis, and that the drug can offer around three months' extra survival time and potentially improved quality of life. The advice takes account of the benefits of a PAS that improves the cost-effectiveness of nivolumab
Bayer's Eylea (aflibercept) can now be routinely prescribed on the NHS in Scotland to treat a severe type of visual impairment which can lead to loss of sight. A patient group submission from RNIB Scotland noted that the condition often develops in those in the 40–60 year age group, who may have significant family and work commitments. The drug can help slow sight loss and offers an alternative treatment option for patients and clinicians, the SMC said. This endorsement is contingent on a PAS that improves the cost-effectiveness of the drug.
Ferring Pharmaceuticals' Cortiment (budesonide) was accepted for the treatment of ulcerative colitis, a condition that causes inflammation and ulceration of the inner lining of the colon, offering patients a new treatment alternative where aminosalicylate is not sufficient. In two Phase III studies, the significantly increased combined clinical and endoscopic remission at eight weeks compared with placebo, but there are no comparative data with other oral or rectal preparations, it was noted.
Also accepted was Ferring's Lutigest (progesterone), which can be used to support embryo implantation and early pregnancy as part of infertility treatment. In women receiving luteal phase support during ART cycles, progesterone the drug administered three times daily were non-inferior to another progesterone preparation administered vaginally with respect to ongoing pregnancy rates at four to six weeks gestation and live birth rates. The endorsement is also contingent on a PAS.