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March 2017 decisions news release

SMC accepts treatment for follicular lymphoma 

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has today (Monday 13 March) published advice accepting a medicine used to treat follicular lymphoma for routine use by NHS Scotland. 

Follicular lymphoma is a type of cancer of the white blood cells. Obinutuzumab (Gazyvaro) was accepted by SMC for use together with another medicine, bendamustine, for the treatment of patients with follicular lymphoma who don’t respond to or whose condition gets worse on other treatments. Obintuzumab was considered through SMC’s Patient and Clinician Engagement (PACE) process, which is used for medicines to treat end of life and very rare conditions. Through the PACE process, patient groups and clinicians highlighted that follicular lymphoma is an incurable disease characterised by relapses. They also shared that the choice and efficacy of therapies that induce remission diminish as the condition progresses. Obinutuzumab may delay progression of the disease and may spare patients from the burden of undergoing intensive chemotherapy. 

Liposomal irinotecan (Onivyde) for the treatment of pancreatic cancer was not recommended for routine use following consideration through the PACE process. The Committee did not recommend liposomal irinotecan due to a lack of robust evidence from the submitting company about the clinical benefits and value for money of the medicine when compared to other currently available treatments. 

Dr Alan MacDonald, chair designate of the SMC, said: 

“I am pleased the Committee was able to accept obinutuzumab for routine use in treating follicular lymphoma. From the evidence the Committee heard from the PACE meeting, we know that this decision will be welcomed by patients and clinicians alike.

“It is disappointing that we were unable to accept liposomal irinotecan for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. While patient groups and clinicians presented a good case in the PACE meeting, the evidence provided by the company on the clinical benefits and value for money of liposomal irinotecan was not strong enough to justify making it available for routine use by NHS Scotland."