Janssen has announced that the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) have accepted Ponvory (ponesimod) within NHS Scotland, as a treatment for adults with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). MS currently affects over 15,000 people in Scotland.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (CNS), in which immune cells attack myelin (the protective casing that insulates nerve cells), damaging or destroying it and causing inflammation. This damage disrupts the ability of the CNS to transmit signals, resulting in a range of symptoms including physical, mental, and sometimes psychiatric problems. Symptoms vary but often include fatigue, problems with balance and walking, numbness or tingling, dizziness and vertigo, issues with vision, weakness, and problems with bladder and bowels.

“This decision further supports our commitment to ensuring patients living with this condition have access to new treatment options to help address some of the life-long and life-limiting symptoms of MS. We will work more closely with the SMC and NHS Scotland to ensure that ponesimod will be available for eligible patients as quickly as possible,” said Amanda Cunnington, director of Health Economics, Market Access, Reimbursement, Government Affairs & Patient Engagement, at Janssen-Cilag Limited.

The SMC’s advice is based on data from the Phase III OPTIMUM trial, a multicenter, randomised, double-blind, parallel-group, active-controlled superiority study of 1,133 patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis (RMS) aged 18-55 years, in 28 countries. The trial aimed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of the once-daily oral treatment of ponesimod (20 mg) against the once-daily teriflunomide (14 mg), an approved and established first-line oral treatment.