- Patients in Scotland now have access to newly covered drugs for thyroid cancer, pulmonary arterial hypertension, Crohn's disaease and other conditions -- but Lynparza, used to treat ovarian cancer, was rejected for funding.
- Bayer's Nexavar was approved for differentiated thyroid carcinoma (DTC) after advocates rallied on behalf of the drug pointing out that it improved DTC's scary symptoms, including difficulty breathing and swallowing -- and could improve both quality and quantity of life.
- Another drug approved for funding is Bayer's first-in-class drug, Adempas, which is intended to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).
In addition to Nexavar and Adempas, the other three drugs approved by the Scottish Medicines Consortium for funding include Takeda's Entyvio for treatment of moderate-to-severe Crohn's disease; Innohep from Leo Pharmaceuticals for treatment of venous thrombo-embolism and a new antibiotic, Zevtera, which is manufactured by Basilea, for treatment of hospital-acquired pneumonia. In all cases, the consortium felt there was enough evidence to demonstrate value, in terms of addressing an unmet medical need.
In contrast, AstraZeneca's Lynparza did not make the cut, because the consortium felt that there were too many uncertainties around the drug's survival benefits in women with advanced ovarian cancer. This decision echoes a decision that the UK-based National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) made in June when it rejected Lynparza, because preliminary pharmacoeconomic analyses showed that the quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) figure associated with use of Lynparza would be $75,248 per QALY.
In the end, it all comes down not only to the ability to address an unmet medical need, but also the ability to show value to decision-makers.