Ocrevus Approved in UK as First NHS Treatment for PPMS

Ocrevus Approved in UK as First NHS Treatment for PPMS

After first rejecting it due to cost-effectiveness concerns, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has now approved the use of Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) for people in the U.K. with early, inflammatory primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS).

This means that PPMS patients living in the U.K. will now have access to Ocrevus treatment through the country’s National Health Service (NHS).

To be eligible for treatment, patients must comply with three criteria: having experienced PPMS symptoms for 15 years or less; being able to walk at least 20 meters (about 65 feet) with or without assistance (which means having an EDSS score of up to 6.5); and having signs of disease activity on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.

Initially, the decision will only apply to England. In the meantime, Genentech, a member of the Roche group — Ocrevus’ manufacturer — will work closely with the NHS in Wales and Northern Ireland, and the Scottish Medicines Consortium in Scotland, to ensure Ocrevus becomes available in all of the U.K.

Ocrevus is the first approved NHS treatment for PPMS in the U.K., a landmark decision made possible only with the collective effort, and dedication, of MS support organizations, including the MS Trust, patients and physicians, a trust official said.

“But we know this is just the start. More treatments for progressive MS are still desperately needed, and we will continue to fight to ensure everyone with MS can access the treatments they need,” Martin added.

Yvonne Pettigrew, a patient diagnosed with PPMS, said about this approval: “I can’t tell you how exciting it is to have the first drug to treat PPMS, Ocrevus, approved for use within the NHS. I know there are of course strict constraints governing the people Ocrevus can be prescribed for which come from the research evidence of who can benefit, but I’m desperately hoping I am one of them. Control of my deterioration will give me optimism about a future I hadn’t dared dream about.”

The NHS in England now will have three months to prepare before it starts funding the treatment for all eligible PPMS patients receiving Ocrevus prescriptions from their doctors.

Joana is currently completing her PhD in Biomedicine and Clinical Research at Universidade de Lisboa. She also holds a BSc in Biology and an MSc in Evolutionary and Developmental Biology from Universidade de Lisboa. Her work has been focused on the impact of non-canonical Wnt signaling in the collective behavior of endothelial cells — cells that make up the lining of blood vessels — found in the umbilical cord of newborns.
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Joana is currently completing her PhD in Biomedicine and Clinical Research at Universidade de Lisboa. She also holds a BSc in Biology and an MSc in Evolutionary and Developmental Biology from Universidade de Lisboa. Her work has been focused on the impact of non-canonical Wnt signaling in the collective behavior of endothelial cells — cells that make up the lining of blood vessels — found in the umbilical cord of newborns.
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5 comments

  1. Gary Woessner says:

    Don’t get your hopes to high I had 3 infusions of ocrevus with no improvement at all!! And the cost was 98000 per infusion, I tried calling genentech to get more results information and they were pretty tight lipped.Good luck

  2. Angela Blair says:

    I am in the US & I only took the first 2 half doses of Ocrevus & it has destroyed my body. I am now allergic to Everything,! I am in renal failure. I have mass cells & they have done a bone marrow biopsy to diagnose me with cancer. See what they don’t tell you is I Ocrevus is just a rebranded chemo called rituxan. Research & don’t believe these ads or stories. They get paid for this! They don’t care about you or your family. Your just a number. Read the fine print above on it. This stuff is not safe. I am on death bed now because of it! Yes, it has been reported to the pharmaceutical company.

  3. Carly Mathers says:

    Ocrevus has saved my life!! Getting ready to get my 3rd full dose and the company does help pay for the cost of the medicine. I don’t feel like I have MS 10 months out of the year and have super energy and can think clearer as well! Thanks to Ocrevus

  4. Karen Bookless says:

    I started Ocrevus in January 2018 and am pleased to say I have experienced no problems with, or after, the infusions and am hopeful that this continues. What we need to realise is that this treatment is not a cure for PPMS but that for many it delays or halts the progression. At the moment this seems to be true for me as for the last year and a half things have not got any worse for me. Fingers crossed!

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