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16th January 2017

Scottish Patients To Have Access To Second Immunotherapy Drug

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The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has today recommended the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab for NHS patients with Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC).

We see this decision as a positive development for patients in Scotland and an indication that more options are now becoming available across the UK.

Lorraine Dallas, our Director of Information and Support Services, said: “We are pleased that the SMC is providing access to a second immunotherapy treatment for Scottish patients with lung cancer. Until recently for the many people diagnosed with late stage lung cancer there were very limited treatment options.

“We are pleased that treatment options for lung cancer patients in Scotland have improved with the approval of pembrolizumab.

Pembrolizumab has been approved by NICE for use by NHS patients in England and Wales since December. Now there are two approved immunotherapy drugs available in Scotland, the other being nivolumab.

The availability of this immunotherapy will offer hope to the thousands of patients diagnosed each year with advanced lung cancer. Whilst this treatment does not offer a cure, for some patients it will offer a treatment life line and a hope of improved health.

It is our hope that this will help pave the way for further positive decisions in all parts of the UK that will benefit patients with this type of lung cancer.

Through our helpline we receive calls from people who are benefiting from new therapies and those who want to know which treatments might be suitable for people they’re caring for. Our free nurse-led helpline provides information on this.”