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Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead pharmacist, Health and Wellbeing Directorate, Public Health England
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ApprovalJune 22 2016

The All Wales Medicines Strategy Group has announced two new recommendations for medicines by the NHS in Wales. The Scottish Medicines Consortium has recommended four medicines for use, but has also advised against two others.

The AWSMG recommendations are:

  • pasireotide (Signifor) for treating adults with acromegaly when surgery is not an option or has not been curative and when other somatostatin analogues are not adequately controlling the condition;
  • dulaglutide (Trulicity) for restricted use in type 2 diabetes in adults to improve glycaemic control where there has been a failure, intolerance or a contraindication to standard triple therapy (metformin and two other antidiabetic medicines) as an alternative to insulin therapy. It can also be used in combination with other glucose-lowering medicinal products but not insulin, when these, together with diet and exercise, have not provided adequate glycaemic control.

In Scotland, the SMC approvals are for:

  • co-careldopa (Duodopa) for advanced Parkinson’s disease and administered as a gel directly into the small intesting via a pump and tubing surgically inserted into the gut;
  • mepolizumab (Nucala) for severe eosinophilic asthma
  • blinatumomab (Blincyto) for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia
  • febuxostat (Adenuric) for patients at risk of Tumour Lysis Syndrome (TLS), a complication due to the breakdown of cancer cells leading to a rise in uric acid level in the blood which can then cause kidney damage

The Committee was unable to accept cabazitaxel (Jevtana) for advanced prostate cancer and evolocumab (Repatha) for high cholesterol.

Asthma UK has welcomed the SMC decision on mepolizumab, but remains concerned that NICE is proposing not to recommend the drug for use in England. Dr Samantha Walker, Asthma UK's Director of Research and Policy, said:

“Whilst Asthma UK has worked very hard to make sure that use of this crucial treatment for people with severe asthma was accepted in Scotland, which we are delighted to see, we have grave concerns over the difference in the situation in England.

“Mepolizumab has been shown to be clinically effective at reducing severe asthma symptoms in people with a certain type of asthma and should be available to those people who are most likely to benefit from it. Obviously this needs to be at a price that the NHS can afford, so it is essential that NICE and the manufacturer continue to work together and find a solution.”

Links:

AWSMG decisions

SMC announcement

Asthma UK comment

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