Photo shows infusion bag and injector suspended from metal pole.

Ocrelizumab not recommended by SMC for people with relapsing MS in Scotland

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has decided not to recommend ocrelizumab for people with relapsing remitting MS on the NHS in Scotland.

Ocrelizumab (drug name Ocrevus) is an intravenous infusion taken every six months. It was licensed to treat both people with relapsing and early primary progressive MS by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in January this year. And was recently approved by NICE for use on the NHS in England and Wales for people with relapsing MS.

A decision will be made for people in Northern Ireland over the coming months.

What’s the SMC decision based on?

In making their decision the SMC stated “The submitting company did not present a sufficiently robust economic analysis to gain acceptance by SMC.”

This means they believe the evidence submitted by the pharmaceutical company didn’t meet criteria to show the treatment is cost effective.

Where does the SMC decision apply?

This decision only applies to Scotland.

What about ocrelizumab for progressive MS?

The drug’s makers have withdrawn their submission to the SMC for ocrelizumab for primary progressive MS. We're working to understand the full reasons for this and will continue working with the SMC and others to see a submission in the future. Unfortunately at this stage we can't estimate when a new submission might come forward.

In England and Wales, NICE have said an initial no to ocrelizumab for primary progressive MS

What next for ocrelizumab in Scotland?

We will continue to work to ensure people with MS have access to treatments. We will work with the pharmaceutical company, Roche, and the SMC to try and understand the decision further and look to find a way for people with MS to access this treatment in Scotland in the future.

Morna Simpkins, Director of MS Society Scotland, said: “We’re extremely disappointed that ocrelizumab will not be available on the NHS in Scotland for people living with the relapsing form of MS.

“Whilst this decision shouldn’t leave anyone currently eligible for a disease modifying therapy without a treatment, it does limit the options available. MS affects everyone differently and giving people a range of different treatments to choose from helps ensure they can find one that works for them.”

“We urge the manufacturers of ocrelizumab and the SMC to work together and find a way to make this treatment available as soon as possible.”

21,000 spoke up, now MPs must help

Earlier this year 21,000 of us called for the manufacturer Roche, NICE and NHS England to put patients first and agree a deal to make ocrelizumab available at a price the NHS can afford.

Right now, this decision affects England and Wales. But getting the right deal is crucial to make sure ocrelizumab can go through approval processes in the other nations in the UK without unnecessary delays.

Tweet your MP to show up for ocrelizumab

Or if you're not on twitter, email them to ask for their support.