The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has published advice accepting medicines for breast cancer and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Ribociclib (Kisqali) was accepted for the treatment of advanced breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Through SMC’s Patient and Clinician Engagement (PACE) process for medicines used to treat very rare and end of life conditions, participants highlighted the impact incurable breast cancer has on the lives of patients and their families. Ribociclib can increase the period of time patients have until their condition progresses and as an oral treatment it is easy to administer.

Also accepted through PACE was pembrolizumab (Keytruda) for the treatment of advanced Hodgkin’s lymphoma in patients who have failed to respond to previous treatments. In the PACE meeting, patient groups highlighted that the only current treatment option is chemotherapy, which offers a poor response rate and causes substantial side effects. For some patients, pembrolizumab may provide a bridge to transplant with the prospect of a cure, while for others it may provide a long lasting remission with fewer side effects than chemotherapy.

Despite strong supportive evidence from patient groups and clinicians, and the added flexibility PACE gives to the decision making process, the committee was unable to accept atezolizumab (Tecentriq) for advanced bladder cancer in patients unable to receive the current preferred treatment for this stage of the disease. Due to uncertainties in the evidence submitted by the company about the benefits of the medicine the committee was unable to accept it for use in NHS Scotland.

Dr Alan MacDonald, chairman of the SMC Committee said: “I am pleased we were able to accept these medicines for use by NHSScotland.

“Ribociclib offers patients with advanced breast cancer the potential for valuable additional time with their families and may delay the need for chemotherapy treatment for some patients.

“For those with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, pembrolizumab offers the potential for some patients to go on to receive curative treatments and a longer remission from disease for others.
“We were unable to accept atezolizumab (Tecentriq) for advanced bladder cancer as the evidence provided by the company on the benefits of using this medicine in the eligible patient population in Scotland was not strong enough.”