Cost regulators for the National Health Service in Scotland have approved funding for six new therapies, giving new options to patients with cancer, kidney disease and diabetes.

Bayer’s Nexavar (sorafenib) has been accepted to treat a type of liver cancer called hepatocellular carcinoma, which affects a small number of patients and is often diagnosed at an advanced stage. 

The regulator said the drug is the only treatment with evidence of benefit in patients who are not suitable for surgical treatment, and as such it is recommended for this subset of patients, but only with a patient access scheme (PAS) to improve its value for money.

Otsuka’s Jinarc (tolvaptan) has been endorsed as a treatment for the inherited kidney disease ADPKD, where fluid filled cysts grow in the kidneys causing a loss of kidney function, but only as long as the drug is discounted as per the agreed PAS.

Jinarc is the first medicine to address the underlying causes of ADPKD, and can help slow the rate of decline in kidney function thus delaying the need for kidney dialysis, the cost watchdog noted.

Chugai Pharma’s Akynzeo (netupitant/palonosetron) will now be routinely available on the NHS for the prevention of acute and delayed nausea and vomiting associated with highly emetogenic cisplatin-based cancer chemotherapy, offering patients another option for symptoms control. The recommendation is also dependent on the continued availability of a PAS to ensure its cost effectiveness.

The SMC also accepted two injectable medicines for the treatment of type II diabetes, Eli Lilly’s Trulicity (dulaglutide) and GlaxoSmithKline’s Eperzan (albiglutide), after patients groups highlighted that both are once weekly treatments which could benefit some patients.

Elsewhere, doctors in Scotland can now prescribe Janssen’s Stelara (ustekinumab) for the treatment of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis in patients aged 12 years and older, who are inadequately controlled by, or are intolerant to, other systemic therapies or phototherapies.

The SMC is, however, stipulating continued treatment should be restricted to patients who achieve at least 75% improvement in their Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI 75) within 16 weeks.