November 2021 decisions news release

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) which advises on newly licensed medicines for use by NHSScotland has published advice accepting three new medicines for use in lung cancer and Hodgkin lymphoma.

Osimertinib (Tagrisso) was accepted for use in patients who have had surgery for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This was following consideration through SMC’s Patient and Clinician Engagement (PACE) process, which is used for medicines to treat end of life and very rare conditions. PACE participants highlighted the high risk of disease recurrence following surgery and that this targeted treatment option is expected to allow patients a longer period living disease free. Osimertinib is an oral medicine that is likely to be better tolerated than other treatment options.

Atezolizumab (Tecentriq) was accepted for the treatment of metastatic NSCLC. The majority of patients are diagnosed at an advanced stage of the disease, which is associated with extremely poor survival, no chance of a cure and limited treatment options. Patients often experience multiple distressing symptoms. Atezolizumab is an additional first line therapy option which is easier to tolerate, administer and requires less time spent in hospital than chemotherapy.

Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) was accepted for the treatment of relapsed or refractory Hodgkin lymphoma (a cancer of the white blood cells) in patients aged three and over when other treatment options have failed. Relapsed or refractory Hodgkin lymphoma is a rare condition, with symptoms including swollen lymph nodes, fevers, night sweats and weight loss. Patients are often young, and the condition may impact on their ability to work or engage in family and social activities. Current treatments can be very intensive and incur serious side effects. Pembrolizumab may increase the time until disease progresses and offers a more convenient treatment option that is likely to reduce the treatment burden on patients and their families.

The committee was unable to accept selpercatinib (Retsevmo) to treat advanced non-small cell lung cancer in adults. Selpercatinib was not recommended as the evidence provided by the company was not strong enough to satisfy the committee that it offers value for money to NHSScotland.

SMC vice chairman Scott Muir said:

“The committee is pleased to be able to accept these medicines for use by NHSScotland.”

“For patients who have had surgery for non-small cell lung cancer, osimertinib offers the potential to live disease free for a longer period of time. We heard from the PACE participants how highly valued this additional time is.”

“For those patients living with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer there is often a high disease burden. Atezolizumab is an additional treatment option.”

“Pembrolizumab will provide another treatment for patients living with Hodgkin lymphoma that is generally well tolerated.”

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

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