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NHS in Scotland makes rheumatoid arthritis drug available

Published on 14/09/21 at 10:55am

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) have recommended the use of Galapagos UK’s JYSELECA® (filgotinib) for eligible patients with severe active rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The once-daily oral drug is now available across Scotland on the NHS.

Filgotinib was shown to significantly increase the proportion of RA patients going into remission. Across the Phase III studies the drug improved the chance of disease remission, noting a DAS28-CRP score of <2.6, which indicates few or no symptoms.

RA, a degenerative autoimmune disease, affects more than 35,000 people in Scotland, with around 11,000 of those living with server disease activity – chronically impacting a patient’s life. The availability of filgotinib on the NHS will ensure that more people have a chance of slowing the long-term pain and damage of RA.

Read: NICE release new guidance on rheumatoid arthritis treatment

Read: NICE recommends rheumatoid arthritis drug Jyseleca for NHS use

The drug is only licenced for use on those on patients with severe active RA, and not currently for those with moderate symptoms. Galapagos UK are in talks with the SMC to bring access of filgotinib for patients with moderate RA, which will align it with the rest of the UK.

Galapagos UK’s General Manager, Emma Chaffin, said, “We believe this is important news for thousands of people living with this devasting condition.

“We are also mindful that people with moderate rheumatoid arthritis will unfortunately not have the same level of access to filgotinib in Scotland as they currently do elsewhere in the UK, where the NICE issued guidance for use in moderate patients.”

Dr Neil McKay, Consultant Rheumatologist at NHS Lothian, said, “It affects multiple joints causing pain, stiffness and disability. It can also cause disabling fatigue. Modern management requires a prompt referral, early diagnosis and intensive management.

“Yet some people with RA require targeted combination therapy to control their condition. Having access to an advanced targeted therapy like filgotinib, at a relatively early stage, is an important and welcome step forward for people with RA.”

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