The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has approved ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) for treating patients in England with early primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS). Patients with early PPMS must present imaging features characteristic of inflammatory activity in adults in order to qualify for the drug.
There are currently no disease modifying treatments available for PPMS. The results of one clinical trial showed that ocrelizumab can slow the worsening of disability, although the size and duration of this effect are uncertain.
Patients with PPMS have an unmet clinical need. The most plausible cost-effectiveness estimates for ocrelizumab at the agreed price compared with best supportive care alone are in the range that NICE considers an acceptable use of NHS resources. Because of this, ocrelizumab is recommended for treating early primary progressive multiple sclerosis with imaging features characteristic of inflammatory activity in adults.
Following this approval from NICE, NHS in England will have three months in which to prepare for prescribing the drug. After that it is expected that the NHS will fund the treatment if a doctor feels it is appropriate.
Ocrelizumab had previously been turned down for the treatment of relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) and PPMS due to it not being cost effective. The drug has since been approved for RRMS and PPMS patients have been waiting for a decision for the treatment of PPMS, which was also delayed while a cost effective price was agreed.
Drug makers Roach will now continue to work with the NHS in Wales and Northern Ireland, and the Scottish Medicines Consortium to make Ocrevus available throughout the UK.
Source: MS-UK 09/05/19