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Blinatumomab approved for use in Wales

written by

Leukaemia Care, Charity

  • Pills 3

The All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG) has announced the recommendation of blinatumomab for the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) patients in Wales. Blinatumomab is marketed by Amgen as Blincyto®.

The recommendation of the AWMSG states that:

“Blinatumomab (Blincyto®▼) is recommended as an option for use within NHS Wales for the treatment of adults with Philadelphia chromosome negative relapsed or refractory B-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

This recommendation applies only in circumstances where the approved Wales Patient Access Scheme (WPAS) is utilised or where the list/contract price is equivalent or lower than the WPAS price.”

The decision follows an appraisal by the AWMSG, including views from clinical experts and patient groups, such as Leukaemia CARE. The AWMSG considered blinatumomab to satisfy the criteria for both rare (‘ultra-orphan) and ‘end-of-life’ status. More information on the decision is available here.

ALL is a rare and rapidly progressing form of leukaemia, with approximately 40-50 people diagnosed in Wales each year. Stem cells divide to produce either more stem cells or immature cells that become blood cells over time. When somebody has ALL this process is uncontrolled and the cells continue to divide but do not mature, making it difficult for the body to fight infection. The most common signs and symptoms include tiredness, infections, anaemia, fever, unusual bleeding and bruising.

The AWMSG’s recommendation follows a similar decision by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) last month. As such, blinatumomab will soon be available to patients in both Wales and Scotland. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have announced that they will be conducting an assessment to determine whether it will be recommended for patients in England, but a decision is not expected until 2017.

Leukaemia CARE is working hard to ensure access for patients in England and will be actively involved in representing patients during the NICE appraisal. If you are an ALL patient or carer and would like to help us, please contact our Campaigns and Advocacy team.

They are available Monday to Friday from 9:00am – 5:30pm. If you would like to speak to them, you can:

You can also call the 24-hour CARE Line, free of charge on 08088 010 444. Our CARE team will pass your enquiry onto the Campaigns and Advocacy team.