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Drugs for leukaemia and cancer accepted for use in Scotland

Has greater patient involvement improved access to new medicines in Scotland?


Patients in Scotland are to get access to new drugs for leukaemia and arthritis following a ruling from the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC).


In its latest advice, the SMC has accepted Gemtuzumab ozogamicin (Mylotarg) to treat acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and anakinra (Kineret) for Still’s disease, a rare type of inflammatory arthritis. Gemtuzumab ozogamicin was considered under the patient and clinician engagement (PACE) process, which gives greater flexibility for drugs for very rare or end-of-life conditions.


The committee also accepted hydrocortisone (Alkindi) for adrenal insufficiency in infants, children and adolescents, and ixekizumab (Taltz), for psoriatic arthritis, but did not accept cabozantinib (Cabometyx) for advanced renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer), despite its being considered via the PACE process.


Meanwhile, Dr Jason Leitch, clinical director for health care quality and strategy with the Scottish Government, has called for more resources to be directed to ensuring that patients receive recommended treatments. Speaking to the Royal College of GPs conference in Glasgow, he said that money was being spent on new treatments rather than ensuring that everyone received treatments that were known to work. The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry told the Times newspaper that the industry should not hold back on innovation.


Further information

SMC: SMC decisions October 2018

Times (paywall): Cut spending on new drugs and focus on patients, says NHS boss