There was good news for Cambridge, UK-based Napp Pharmaceuticals this week as cost regulators in Scotland approved the use of its asthma inhaler Flutiform for National Health Service use.

Flutiform combines, for the first time, the ICS fluticasone propionate (fluticasone) with the LABA formoterol fumarate (formoterol) in a single aerosol inhaler, using SkyePharma's proprietary SkyeDry technology, and comes in three different doses.

The Scottish Medicines Consortium has agreed that Flutiform should be used in NHS patients when fluticasone and formoterol, and use of a metred-dose inhaler, are considered appropriate choices. 

The product's recent approval in Europe came on the back of Phase III trial data showing that Napp's combination of fluticasone/formoterol delivered comparable efficacy and safety to its individual components when given through two separate inhalers.

And the SMC agrees, noting that Flutiform has demonstrated clinical non-inferiority to another combination product containing a corticosteroid and LABA, and accepting that Napp's product "may offer cost savings".

Napp's partner SkyePharma recently said that while lower strength (50/5 _g at £18.00) Flutiform is currently at price parity, the two higher doses (125/5 _g at £29.26 and 250/10 _g at £45.46) are at a lower cost than the fluticasone/salmeterol metered dose inhaler (MDI).

Room for improvement

Around 368,000 people live with asthma in Scotland, and many of these are not optimally controlled and therefore are at risk from exacerbations that could reduce quality of life and boost healthcare costs.

"So advances in medication and a new combination treatment option are very much welcomed,” explained Professor David Price, GP with special interest in respiratory disease and Primary Care Respiratory Society UK, Professor of Primary Care Respiratory Medicine, University of Aberdeen. 

NICE is not planning to review Flutiform, as the new treatment combines two already existing molecules, a spokesperson for Napp told PharmaTimes UK News.