In its February 2021 meeting, the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has accepted four new medicines for use by the NHS in Scotland.

Bristol Myers Squibb’s (BMS) multiple sclerosis (MS) oral therapy Zeposia (ozanimod) has been accepted for the treatment of relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS).

Zeposia is used in RRMS patients with active disease, where patients have relapses or signs of active inflammation on scans.

Also approved for use by NHS Scotland was AbbVie’s JAK inhibitor Rinvoq, which has been accepted for the treatment of severe rheumatoid arthritis that is inadequately controlled by disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS).

On top of that, rare disease therapy Scenesse (afamelanotide) has also been approved by the SMC for the treatment of patients with erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP).

People living with EPP experiencing painful burns, welling and scars when exposed to strong light, with there currently being limited treatment for this condition.

The therapy will be made available through NHS Scotland for three years, while the drug’s developer – Clinuvel – gathers additional data on the effects of the treatment. After this, the SMC will review all the evidence and make a decision on routine availability in NHS Scotland.

Rounding out the SMC recommendations is Alexion’s Ultomiris (ravulizumab), another rare disease medicine, which has been accpeted for the treatment of paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria (PNH).

Ultomiris was assessed via the SMC’s Patient and Clinician Engagement (PACE) process, which is used to review treatments for end of life and rare conditions.

Through the PACE process, it was determined that Ultomiris would reduce the need for infusions every two weeks to every eight weeks, reducing the frequency of healthcare visits and alleviating some of the psychological burden of living with PNH for patients and their families.

“In our PACE meeting for Ultomiris, patient groups and clinicians told us how the symptoms of PNH can have a significant impact on patients and their families,” said Mark MacGregor, SMC chairman.

“As Ultomiris requires intravenous infusion on an eight weekly basis, it may allow patients to enjoy a better quality of life with fewer disruptions for treatment,” he added.