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Scotland recommends Janssen's Imbruvica for leukaemia

Published on 11/04/17 at 09:41am

Janssen has been celebrating the news that its Imbruvica (ibrutinib) has been recommended by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) for the treatment of relapsed/refractory chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) in adults for whom fludarabine-based regimens are deemed inappropriate.

A BTK inhibitor, Imbruvica blocks the transmission of cell survival signals in malignant B-cells by forming a covalent bond with the BTK protein, meaning cancer cells are left unable to propagate.

The drug proved its efficacy in a Phase 3 study, the results of which, alongside the benefits of Janssen’s Patient Access Scheme, were key in the SMC’s decision to deem Imbruvica cost-effective. The drug was previously recommended back in August 2016 as a single agent CLL patients with 17p deletion or TP53 mutation for whom chemotherapy is unsuitable.

“We are delighted that ibrutinib will now be available to a broader population of CLL patients in Scotland,” said David Innes, Chair of the CLL Support Association. “This is very positive news for patients who for too long had very limited options available to them and who were in desperate need of access to innovative treatment options once they have relapsed, or if they are refractory to treatment.

Jennifer Lee, Director of Health Economics, Market Access and Reimbursement (HEMAR) and Advocacy at Janssen UK, also commented on the recommendation: “The decision to broaden access to ibrutinib for patients with relapsed/refractory CLL by the SMC will be much welcomed by patients who will now be able to access this innovative medicine routinely on the Scottish NHS. We have worked closely with the SMC to ensure that patients suffering with blood cancer have access to this efficacious treatment and are pleased that ibrutinib will now be available as a treatment option to more patients.”

Matt Fellows

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