We’ve had the disappointing news that MS drug ocrelizumab won’t be made available for primary progressive MS. The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE), who approve drugs to be available on the NHS in England and Wales, announced their decision on 10 September.
What is ocrelizumab and why does this decision matter?
Ocrelizumab (brand name Ocrevus) is a drug that has a Europe-wide license to treat relapsing MS and early primary progressive MS. It’s taken as an infusion.
In medical trials for ocrelizumab, on average, people with primary progressive MS saw a drop of around 25% in the risk of their disability getting worse. The drug also helped people walk better, slowed down brain shrinkage and made lesions in the brain smaller.
But NICE have rejected its use for early primary progressive MS because they say the cost of the drug is too high for the benefits it can provide.
There are currently no DMTs available for primary progressive MS.
What are we doing about it?
This isn’t the end. We’re calling for the manufacturer Roche, NICE and NHS England to agree a deal to make ocrelizumab available at a price the NHS can afford.
We’ll be in discussion with everyone involved in the decision and have launched a petition calling for people with primary progressive MS to be put first.
More information and support
Our MS Helpline are available to answer questions and provide emotional support. The MS Helpline is open 9am-7pm Monday-Friday on 0808 800 8000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.