In recent news I reported that Iclusig® (ponatinib) had been granted access to patients in Wales by NHS Wales. You can read the whole story here. I’m pleased to be able to write today to say that patients in Scotland have been given access to ponatinib too! Both countries are providing access for ALL phases of chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML).

In England ponatinib is only available on the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) IF the patient has the T315i mutation. We recently reported the majority of patients were being turned down in England after making individual funding requests; full story here.

Whilst you can read the full details of the appraisal by NHS Scotland I’ll draw your attention to this:

A non-comparative phase II study of ponatinib was conducted with primary outcomes of major cytogenetic response in patients with baseline chronic phase CML and major haematologic response in patients with baseline accelerated or blast phase CML or Ph+ALL. Ponatinib demonstrated efficacy in heavily pre-treated CML and Ph+ALL patients who had received dasatinib/nilotinib as second line or further line tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy or who had the T315I mutation.

The studies of ponatinib show it to be very effective and NHS Scotland have recognised this, but NHS England remain steadfast and refuse to appraise ponatinib because the patient numbers are too low. We find ourselves in a situation where patients aren’t able to access a drug that could save their lives. How can the system be fair when, depending on which NHS authority you come under, will depend on the availability of a drug to you?

There is little that can be done at the moment but once Parliament reconvenes we’ll start to apply pressure and ask direct questions of the organisations that are allowing us to fall behind our counterparts in the United Kingdom.

Thanks, Kris

Advice: following a full submission considered under the orphan and end of life process:

ponatinib (Iclusig®) is accepted for use within NHS Scotland.

Indication under review: Adult patients with
• Chronic phase, accelerated phase, or blast phase chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) who are resistant to dasatinib or nilotinib; who are intolerant to dasatinib or nilotinib and for whom subsequent treatment with imatinib is not clinically appropriate; or who have the T315I mutation.
• Philadelphia chromosome positive acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (Ph+ALL) who are resistant to dasatinib; who are intolerant to dasatinib and for whom subsequent treatment with imatinib is not clinically appropriate; or who have the T315I mutation.

A non-comparative phase II study of ponatinib was conducted with primary outcomes of major cytogenetic response in patients with baseline chronic phase CML and major haematologic response in patients with baseline accelerated or blast phase CML or Ph+ALL. Ponatinib demonstrated efficacy in heavily pre-treated CML and Ph+ALL patients who had received dasatinib/nilotinib as second line or further line tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy or who had the T315I mutation.

This advice takes account of the views from a Patient and Clinician Engagement (PACE) meeting.

Taken from: www.scottishmedicines.org.uk/SMC_Advice/Advice/1032_15_ponatinib_Iclusig/ponatinib_Iclusig