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SMC approves pomalidomide

written by

Leukaemia Care, Charity

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The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) last week accepted pomalidomide for use within NHS Scotland. This acceptance follows a resubmission by Celgene with the inclusion of a patient access scheme, to improve the cost effectiveness of the drug.  The advice is contingent upon the availability of this scheme in NHS Scotland, or a list price which is equivalent or lower.

Pomalidomide has been accepted for use in combination with dexamethasone for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma who have received at least two prior treatment regimens, including lenalidomide and bortezomib, and have demonstrated disease progression on the last therapy. Pomalidomide is marketed by Celgene Ltd as Imnovid®.

Myeloma (also known as multiple myeloma) is a cancer which affects the plasma cells, a type of white blood cell found in the bone marrow. Plasma cells produce antibodies called ‘immunoglobulins’ to help fight infections. Normally new plasma cells are produced to replace old cells, but in patients with myeloma abnormal amounts of plasma cells are produced which only produce one type of antibody called ‘paraprotein’ which has no useful function and cannot fight infection effectively.

Pomalidomide is currently being assessed for NHS use in Wales by the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG) and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for NHS use in England, with their decision’s expected to be published early next year. The SMC found that pomalidomide plus dexamethasone significantly increased progression-free survival compared with high-dose dexamethasone in patients with refractory or relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma.

Monica Izmajlowicz, Leukaemia CARE Chief Executive, said: “This decision enables patients in Scotland to routinely access pomalidomide. It is hoped that the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG) and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) will also come to the same conclusion and approve the use of pomalidomide.”