Four key medicines given the go ahead under NHS Scotland


NHS SCOTLAND is set to use four new medicines to treat pancreatic cancer, chronic myelogenous leukaemia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and infertility.


The move comes after The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC), whose purpose is to review newly licensed medicines, published advice that includes the four new medicines.


The medicines for pancreatic cancer- paclitaxel albumin- and leukaemia- bosutinib- were accepted after consideration under the SMC’s more flexible PACE (Patient and Clinician Engagement) process, which aims to improve patient access to new medicines for the treatment of end of life and very rare conditions.


Paclitaxel albumin can be used to treat pancreatic cancer. Given in combination with gemcitabine chemotherapy, it offers patients a significant improvement in survival in the context of very limited remaining months of life. It also has improved tolerability compared with currently available treatments.


A third medicine- abiraterone acetate- which was also considered under the PACE process was for the treatment of for the treatment of prostate cancer in men who have not yet received chemotherapy.


Also accepted after a resubmission was an inhaler- consisting of umeclidinium/vilanterol- for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).


COPD covers several conditions, including long term bronchitis and emphysema, in which the airways or the lungs are blocked or narrowed, usually by inflammation of the airways. SMC also accepted the biosimilar medicine follitropin alfa (Bemfola), used to treat female infertility and hypogonadism (a condition in which the body does not produce enough testosterone) in men.


Professor Jonathan Fox, chairman of SMC, said: “We are pleased to be able to accept these four medicines for use in NHS Scotland, two of which were considered via our PACE process.

“The valuable additional input from patient groups and clinicians through the PACE process was helpful in highlighting the benefits of nab-paclitaxel and bosutinib for patients. The acceptance of these medicines by SMC now brings the number of medicines approved under the PACE process to eight.”