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NHS England strikes deals to make new treatments for MS and breast cancer routinely available

NHS England has struck deals to make innovative treatments for Multiple Sclerosis and breast cancer routinely available on the NHS.

Patients with Multiple Sclerosis are set to benefit from a new treatment option, Mavenclad, following a deal with drug company Merck.

NHS England and Roche have also reached a commercial agreement on the use of Pertuzumab, which opens the way for continued access to this treatment for breast cancer.

Speaking at the FT Global Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Conference in London, NHS England CEO Simon Stevens said: “These innovative deals are concrete examples of how NHS England is now successfully working with the life sciences industry to make treatments available for patients, while securing fair value for taxpayers.

“Today’s announcement shows that for companies who are willing to work with us, there are real gains for them, for the NHS and most importantly for patients able to get new and innovative drugs.”

NHS England has been working closely with Roche, Merck and other companies to help ensure new, effective, but expensive medicines reach patients.

Previous arrangements would be down to industry proposing a price where NICE say yes or no to the drug being made available. NHS England now has more direct involvement with industry, working closely with NICE, to help to find deals that work for patients and taxpayers.

NHS England has recently announced deals to enable patients to access two innovative treatments – Kadcyla (trastuzumab emtansine) for breast cancer and asfotase alfa for a rare bone disease.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said: “This is exceptionally good news for patients and their doctors, and we very much hope that NICE will now be able to approve Perjeta as soon as possible. The impact that this treatment has had, and will hopefully now continue to have on the NHS, for thousands of women living with incurable metastatic breast cancer and their loved ones cannot be underestimated.

“Perjeta is an indispensable and life-changing drug, offering women with incurable breast cancer nearly 16 extra months to live compared to other treatments.”

Director of External Affairs at the MS Society, Genevieve Edwards, said: “This is great news for people with relapsing MS. Just 20 years ago we didn’t have any treatment options – now there are thirteen available on our NHS.

“The decision to grant immediate access is another important step forward and proves how much progress continues to be made. Cladribine offers people with more active MS a new oral therapy which can be taken in two courses, minimising disruption to their daily lives.”

Manufacturers of other treatment options for MS will have a further opportunity to also offer schemes which improve value to the NHS as part of standard Commercial Medicines Unit tender processes later in the spring.

In September this year, NHS England also announced that the NHS had negotiated a similar pay by cure deal for revolutionary new treatment that can cure Hepatitis C which has saved thousands more lives, led to an unprecedented reduction in liver transplants and is set to cut the nation’s drug bill in excess of £50 million.

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