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09 May 2019

Ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) Gets NICE Approval for PPMS!

It has been announced today that NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) has approved the NHS use of Ocrelizumab for the treatment of adults with early, inflammatory primary progressive MS (PPMS).

It can be offered to people with PPMS if they:

  • Have had symptoms of primary progressive MS for 15 years or less AND
  • Are able to walk 20 metres or more, with or without walking aids (EDSS up to 6.5) AND
  • Have evidence of MS activity on MRI scans

This is hugely welcome news, and comes as a reversal of the original NICE decision to reject Ocrelizumab’s approval for use in PPMS, whilst approving its use in relapsing remitting MS (RRMS).  This apparent change of heart comes following discussions between NICE, NHS England and the drug’s manufacturer Roche, who agreed to lower the price of the treatment to below its £19,160 list price.

In a statement from NICE, the body said: “Given the unmet clinical need, the most plausible cost-effectiveness estimates for Ocrelizumab at the agreed price compared with best supportive care alone are in the range that NICE considers an acceptable use of NHS resources”.

The decision initially applies to England, but Roche is working with the Departments of Health in Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as the Scottish Medicines Consortium to make Ocrevus available throughout the U.K.

It is now hoped that this first disease modifying drug (DMD) for early PPMS will be available in England by August 2019.  This change in policy again demonstrates the power of the MS community to force real change on the part of government and the pharmaceutical industry, to enable even more of us to live well with MS.

Dr Jonathan White MBChB MRCOG