NICE Postpones Final Opinion on Adding Ocrevus to Public Health System for PPMS Patients in UK

NICE Postpones Final Opinion on Adding Ocrevus to Public Health System for PPMS Patients in UK

A final and weighty opinion regarding whether Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) will be among treatments available at low or no cost to primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) patients in England and Wales — through the National Health Service (NHS) — has been put on hold, according to the Multiple Sclerosis Trust.

The “final guidance” from  The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which evaluates treatments that might enter the U.K.’s public health system, was expected to recommend against Ocrevus’ inclusion for this MS patient group on Oct. 31.

NICE, whose opinions here become policy, postponed any action pending the outcome of ongoing talks between Ocrevus’ developer, Genentech, and NHS England, the MS Trust reported on its website. No date was given for an announcement.

NICE sets up healthcare guidelines and standards in the U.K., and assesses for cost-effectiveness treatments to be made available to patients using the NHS, the subsidized, public-funded health system in the U.K.

Ocrevus, a monoclonal antibody marketed by Genentech, a Roche subsidiary, is currently the only available treatment for both relapsing and primary progressive MS forms. In England and Wales, it is available through the NHS for RRMS patients.

NICE first announced that it opposed public funding of Ocrevus for PPMS in July. It acknowledged at the time that Ocrevus can be of benefit to these patients, but ruled that its cost was out of line with the value it offered.

The MS Trust campaigned against that opinion, surveying PPMS patients regarding their disease and its impact, and sharing the experiences they reported with NICE.

According to the MS Trust, NICE’s decision to put its final opinion on hold — with no new announcement date set — shows a possible willingness by both Genentech and NHS England to reach a compromise.

“Access to ocrelizumab for people living with PPMS would be a very welcome outcome to this further review, but we recognise that there are many factors which can influence the final decision,” said David Martin, chief executive of MS Trust.

“It is not yet clear how long, or what process will need to be followed,” Martin added, “but it appears that access to a treatment which can slow down the progression of MS may have moved a step closer.”


  1. Steve Slobodzian says:

    I hope that NICE would look again at the benefits PPMS patients receive from Ocrevus. It is currently the only drug with benefits for PPMS. I live in the US, and was very happy that our FDA fast tracked the drug for approval, and I was able to benefit from it, as I have PPMS. This drug for me has alleviated pain in feet and calves which was 18/7 for me as I could only sleep 6 hours per night, waking every hour because of pain. It has also calmed my jittery hands and am now able to write legibly again. Ocrevus has given me back the ability to sweat again, which helps me tolerate heat better, take warmer showers and do chores around my house. I just had MRI`s of head, neck and spinal column and no new problems have arisen since starting Ocrevus, March of 2017. Please look at the benefits for people who have nothing else to look forward to.

  2. I live in Australia and have PPMS, Ocrevous was approved here late last year for RRMS but knocked back for PPMS. I saw my Neaurologist in March this year almost pleading to allow me to go in a trial for Ocrevous, he said this was not possible, if I wanted to have the drug it would be $17,000 twice a year. We can’t possibly afford this but I don’t understand why it is knocked back here and in the UK when there is evidence with the above comment from Steve saying that he has less pain and is able to do some housework, etc.
    I suffer from agonising neauropathic pain in both legs and can’t do much at all because in lots of ways my PPMS is worsening. I would absolutely love to have access to Ocrevous to stop it progressing any further and hopefully enable me to have a better quality of life.
    The approval of it for people with PPMS would benefit so many people.
    Kind Regards

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