Five new medicines have made it onto National Health Service treatment lists in Scotland for cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and a very rare condition called chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH).

The Scottish Medicines Consortium has accepted for use Eli Lilly's Alimta (pemetrexed) as a maintenance therapy in locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (other than predominantly squamous cell histology) in patients whose disease has not progressed immediately after platinum-based chemotherapy.

In studies patients taking the drug survived one to two months longer without disease progression and survived overall for three to five months longer than those taking a placebo.

Celgene’s Imnovid (pomalidomide) was accepted for use in combination with dexamethasone for the treatment of relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma in adults who have received at least two prior treatment regimens, including lenalidomide and bortezomib, and have experienced deterioration of their disease since the last therapy. 

Cost regulators across the border in England are currently minded not to recommend funding the drug on the NHS, and the SMC OK only comes after a resubmission with the inclusion of a patient access scheme (PAS) to sweeten the deal.

GlaxoSmithKline’s Incruse (umeclidinium) has been deemed value for money as a once-daily bronchodilator treatment for COPD, a lung condition which may cause serious disability.  When used in combination with Relvar Ellipta (fluticasone furoate/vilanterol), licensed in COPD and endorsed by the SMC in April, it is the first and only triple therapy option for the condition in the same type of inhaler, GSK said.

Acceptance of Bayer HealthCare’s Adempas (riociguat) for CTEPH will give certain patients with this very rare, life-threatening condition access to the first specifically licensed treatment for the condition.

CTEPH causes severe narrowing of blood vessels in the lungs leading to high blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries, leaving patients with breathlessness and fatigue upon minimal physical activity, chest pain and dizziness. Untreated, it eventually leads to heart failure and premature death.

Though often treated with surgery, a significant number of patients are unable to undergo the highly specialised procedure and up to 10-15% of those who do still have persistent or recurrent pulmonary hypertension after.

Finally, as PT reported earlier, Roche’s Gazyvaro (obinutuzumab) has gained NHS entry for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, with help from a Leukaemia Care submission highlighting that patients with other conditions such as heart problems or kidney disease are often unable to take standard treatments for the condition.