Medicines for colorectal, skin and ovarian cancers approved for NHS Scotland use

Pharmacy (PA Archive)
15:30pm, Mon 10 May 2021
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Medicines for colorectal, skin and ovarian cancers are among four newly approved treatements for use in NHS Scotland

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) announced it has accepted four new medicines for routine use from Monday including Encorafenib (Braftovi), hydrochloride (Ledaga), niraparib (Zejula) and Ravulizumab (Ultomiris).

Encorafenib (Braftovi) was accepted for use along with the medicine cetuximab for the treatment of colorectal cancer in patients with a gene mutation called “BRAF V600”.

It can be used when the cancer has spread elsewhere in the body after previously being treated with other medicines.

Dr Janet Graham, consultant medical oncologist at Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, said: “The SMC’s acceptance represents an important milestone for the colorectal cancer community in Scotland.

“In the past metastatic patients, with a BRAFV600E mutation, have been treated with traditional, cytotoxic-based chemotherapy which generally offers low response rates.

“From today, the SMC allows us to access targeted medicines in these NHS Scotland patients.

“Given cytotoxic chemotherapy is associated with suppression of the immune system, the availability of this chemotherapy-free regimen is particularly pertinent as we continue to treat Scottish cancer patients amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.”

As part of the Patient and Clinician Engagement (PAC ) process, chlormethine hydrochloride (Ledaga) was also accepted.

It is a medicine used to treat mycosis fungoides-type cutaneous T-cell lymphoma – a rare type of lymphoma (cancer of the white blood cells) mainly affecting the skin.

The committee also accepted the oral medication niraparib (Zejula) to treat advanced ovarian cancer.

It is said to offer patients greater flexibility with potentially fewer side effects and may extend progression free survival.

As well as the treatments for the cancers, Ravulizumab (Ultomiris) was accepted for the treatment of atypical haemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS).

It is a rare, life-threatening disease that causes abnormal blood clotting in small blood vessels and the breakdown of red blood cells resulting in kidney failure.

The condition can also affect the heart, lungs, brain and digestive system.

We know that our decision on ravulizumab will help reduce the treatment burden for those with aHUS

SMC chairman Mark MacGregor said: “We are pleased to be able to accept these medicines for use by NHS Scotland.

“For patients with colorectal cancer with the ‘BRAF V600’ cell mutation, our decision on encorafenib will delay disease progression in some patients, enabling them to enjoy valuable time with family and friends.

“From the evidence given by patients and clinicians in the PACE meeting, we know that our decision on ravulizumab will help reduce the treatment burden for those with aHUS, which may in turn improve quality of life for both patients and their families.

“Our decision on chlormethine hydrochloride offers an effective alternative to other current treatments for patients with mycosis fungoides-type cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

“For patients with advanced ovarian cancer, niraparib may allow a longer time without disease progression, and potentially with good quality of life.”

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