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Scottish Medicines Consortium Endorses Cancer Treatments

January 27, 2022 • 2:03 pm CST
(Vax Before Cancer)

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) announced on January 17, 2022, advice on new medicines for use in conditions including advanced breast cancer and non-small cell lung cancer.

Trastuzumab deruxtecan (Enhertu) was accepted to treat patients with advanced HER2-positive breast cancer, subject to ongoing evaluation and future reassessment once further information is available.

Trastuzumab deruxtecan is used to treat patients who have already received two or more HER2-targeted treatments for their advanced cancer. Trastuzumab deruxtecan offers the potential to control the disease and its symptoms and may slow disease progression, which could lead to more prolonged overall survival.

Secondarily, Tucatinib (Tukysa) was also accepted through PACE to treat adult patients with advanced HER2-positive breast cancer.

It is combined with other medicines to treat patients who have already received two or more HER2-targeted treatments for their advanced cancer. Tucatinib is expected to allow patients more time before cancer progresses.

And Osimertinib (Tagrisso) was accepted through PACE for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in patients whose cancer cells have changes (mutations) in a gene responsible for making a protein called EGFR.

Cancer cells with this kind of mutation are described as EGFR positive, and around 10% of patients with NSCLC have these cancer cells.

Osimertinib is used for the initial treatment of these patients where the cancer is advanced (has spread to tissues near the lung or other parts of the body) and provides a treatment option that could increase survival and may have fewer side effects.

The committee was unable to accept nivolumab (Opdivo) when used with another medicine, ipilimumab, and chemotherapy, to treat non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that has spread to other parts of the body.

Nivolumab was not recommended as the company’s evidence was not strong enough to satisfy the committee that it offers value for money to NHS Scotland compared to the current treatment option.

SMC chairman Mark MacGregor stated in a press release, “The committee is pleased to be able to accept these medicines for use by NHS Scotland.”

“We were unable to accept nivolumab as the evidence provided by the company was not strong enough to satisfy the committee of its cost-effectiveness.”

Healthcare Improvement Scotland, the national healthcare improvement organization for Scotland, reviews new medicines that have received a license from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. It also reviews new formulations and new ways to use established medicines. 

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