The key step is trying to persuade the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to recommend that the health service cover the Genentech therapy. The institute, also known as NICE, is an advisory body whose recommendations the National Health Service usually adopts.
Trust leaders want to know more about the challenges that PPMS patients deal with in their daily lives and their views on the treatment coverage options the health service provides, according to a news release.
The trust is particularly interested in patients’ views on Ocrevus. It is asking both PPMS patients and those with other types of multiple sclerosis, plus caregivers and health professionals, to complete a short questionnaire by Feb. 14. It can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ocrelizumab-for-PPMS.
Ocrevus is an expensive drug. NICE is in the midst of doing a cost-benefit analysis on whether the health services of England and Wales should make it available to PPMS patients by covering its costs. A final decision is expected later this year.
A separate appraisal will be done on whether the health services of Scotland and Northern Ireland should cover Ocrevus.
The European Union has approved Ocrevus for both relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis and PPMS. The authorization was based on the results of three Phase 3 clinical trials covering 2,388 patients. OPERA 1 and OPERA 2 (NCT01247324 and NCT01412333) covered relapsing patients, and ORATORIO (NCT01194570) primary progressive patients.
A key finding in the ORATORIO trial was that Ocrevus reduced the risk of MS progression by 25 percent, compared with a placebo. It also reduced brain lesions — or areas of nerve cell damage — and the rate at which patients lose brain tissue.
In RRMS patients, Ocrevus lowered relapse rates and the appearance of new brain lesions, compared with Rebif (interferon beta-1a).
Ocrevus is not only effective, but safe, the trials showed. The most common side effects that patients reported were reactions to the IV delivery of the drug and colds, mostly mild or moderate in severity.