Ponesimod (brand name Ponvory) has been given the green light by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) for people with active relapsing MS.
Scotland is the first nation in the UK to approve ponesimod. In October 2021, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provisionally decided not to recommend the drug for use in England and Wales. This decision is being reviewed by NICE and could change. We’re expecting a decision in the coming months.
What is ponesimod?
Ponesimod (brand name Ponvory) is a tablet taken daily. Like fingolimod (brand name Gilenya), it's thought to act by trapping certain immune cells (called lymphocytes) in the body’s lymph nodes.
Ponesimod has been shown in Phase III clinical trials to be more effective at reducing the relapse rate in relapsing MS and fatigue-related symptoms compared to teriflunomide (brand name Aubagio).
Ponesimod’s approval means there are now 17 disease modifying therapies available on the NHS in Scotland.
Rest of the UK must follow
Our Scotland director, Morna Simpkins, said: “It’s very welcome that ponesimod has been approved for use on the NHS in Scotland.
“MS is relentless, painful, and disabling, and this treatment increases the options for people to manage their condition and help prevent symptoms.
“Our community’s experiences tell us just how big a difference having different treatments available can make. We hope that appraisal bodies in other parts of the UK follow suit as soon as possible, so everyone with MS can access ponesimod if it is the right option for them.
“We have never been closer to stopping MS, and this is just the latest in a number of new treatments which have been made available in the past few years for the 15,000 people living with MS in Scotland.”
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