Consortium clears medication to treat NHS patients in Scotland

The Scottish Medicines Consortium has approved the use of new drugs in the treatment of NHS patients.

By Neil McGrory, Local Democracy Reporter
Monday, 7th September 2020, 4:07 pm
The consortium's decision has been welcomed by Health secretary Jeane Freeman.
The consortium's decision has been welcomed by Health secretary Jeane Freeman.

Medicines, which may now be prescribed, include brolucizumab (Beovu), a treatment for neovascular (wet) age-related macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness in the UK,  affecting around 40,000 people every year.

A cannabis-based medication, cannabidiol (Epidyolex,) has been cleared by the consortium for prescription for treatment of a rare form of epilepsy.

Health secretary Jeane Freeman welcomed this decision, saying: “We welcome the decision to approve Epidyolex for the treatment of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a rare type of epilepsy that presents in early childhood, and the additional support this will give families living with children suffering from this condition.

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“Together with the approval of Epidyolex in combination with clobazam – which was also accepted for the treatment of Dravet syndrome – these medicines will improve the quality of life for patients and their families.”

A new treatment option has also been cleared for prescription to breast cancer patients. Pertuzumab (Perjeta) can now be administered alongside trastuzumab and chemotherapy, a combination which has been found to improve survival rates in some forms of the condition.

Ms Freeman commented: “We welcome the decision by the independent Scottish Medicines Consortium to approve Perjeta for the adjuvant treatment (after surgery) of early stage breast cancer with an expedited approach to minimise delay in patient access, following the early phase of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Being diagnosed with cancer is devastating for all those affected, and we are committed to supporting and continually improving patient care.”

Some adults suffering from leukaemia will now be prescribed gilteritinib (Xospata), based on its performance in medical studies where it improved outcomes.

Adults, whose major depression has resisted two or more other forms of treatment, may be prescribed esketamine (Spravato), an antidepressant, which has had positive results in clincial trials.