Ovarian Cancer Drug Olaparib Approved in Scotland

Nicky Broyd

December 10, 2019

Four new medications have been approved by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) this month.

Ovarian Cancer

The oral ovarian cancer drug olaparib (Lynparza, AstraZeneca) was approved after referral to the Patient and Clinician Engagement (PACE) process for rare and end of life conditions.

In a statement SMC Chairman Dr Alan MacDonald said: "Olaparib can delay the time before patients require further chemotherapy and may offer increased survival benefits, giving patients valuable additional time with family and friends."

The SMC decision means the PARP inhibitor is now available across the UK. In a statement Marie-Claire Platt, head of public affairs and research at the charity Ovarian Cancer Action, said the news "marks a significant advancement in how we can treat BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer in Scotland".

However, she added: "Genetic testing is vital for women to access this treatment but despite guidelines, we know 29% of ovarian cancer patients across the UK are missing out. Addressing this inequality must be a Government priority to ensure women do not miss out on treatment."


Polycythaemia Vera

Ruxolitinib (Jakavi, Novartis) was approved for polycythaemia vera (PV) after PACE referral.

Dr MacDonald said: "As we heard through our PACE process, patients with polycythaemia vera can suffer significant symptoms and treatment options are limited. We know that our decision on ruxolitinib will be welcomed."

Hereditary Angioedema

Lanadelumab (Takhzyro, Shire Pharmaceuticals) will be funded for routine prevention of frequent severe attacks of hereditary angioedema through the PACE process.

Dr MacDonald said: "For patients with hereditary angioedema, the way current preventative treatments must be given can be cumbersome. Our decision on lanadelumab provides a treatment which helps to prevent attacks, can help reduce anxiety and gives patients the option to self-administer rather than go to hospital to receive treatment."


Lusutrombopag (Mulpleo, Shionogi) was accepted to prevent excessive bleeding in adults with thrombocytopenia caused by long-term liver disease.

The SMC said it offers a more convenient option to reduce bleeding risks during invasive procedures.

Advanced Soft-tissue Sarcoma

Despite the PACE process trabectedin (Yondelis, Immedica) was rejected for advanced soft-tissue sarcoma.

Dr MacDonald said: "Although the PACE process gives our committee members additional flexibility in their decision making, they were unable to accept trabectedin (Yondelis) for the treatment of advanced soft-tissue sarcoma as the company’s evidence around the clinical and economic benefits of using the medicine was not clear."

Trabectedin has been approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for use in England and Wales.


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