People in Wales affected by multiple myeloma set to benefit from new treatment approach


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On Friday 29th July 2016, Celgene, Stockley Park, UK Celgene announce that REVLIMID® (lenalidomide), in combination with low-dose dexamethasone, has been recommended by the All Wales Medicine Strategy Group (AWMSG) for the treatment of adult patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma (NDMM), who are not eligible for transplant and are unsuitable for thalidomide-containing regimens. This recommendation enables NHS access to the treatment combination for eligible Welsh patients, joining patients in Scotland and Northern Ireland who currently have access to the combination in this indication via the NHS.

Dr Ceri Bygrave, Consultant Haematologist, University Hospital of Wales comments: 

Multiple myeloma is a deadly form of blood cancer, for which there is a need for new treatment approaches and combinations. People with the disease live with the constant uncertainty of relapse and as clinicians it is our objective to ensure the longest and greatest quality of remission at the outset of their treatment. The recommendation from the AWMSG regarding access to REVLIMID®, in combination with dexamethasone, brings an important additional option to Welsh patients who have just received diagnosis of a largely incurable disease, and exemplifies the determination of the Welsh government in ensuring access to vital cancer medicines.”

Every 14 minutes, someone in the UK is diagnosed with a blood cancer. Multiple myeloma is the biggest blood cancer killer in the UK and caused more than 140 deaths in Wales in 2014. REVLIMID®, when used in combination with low-dose dexamethasone, has been shown to significantly improve progression-free survival in patients treated continuously with the combination (26 months) in comparison with standard treatment (21.9 months).

Myeloma UK Policy and Public Affairs Manager, Kate Morgan, adds: 

“It is great news that the AWMSG has approved REVLIMID® for this group of patients in Wales. This decision provides a much-needed alternative for newly diagnosed patients whose options are limited because they cannot receive thalidomide. REVLIMID® in the newly diagnosed setting has demonstrated excellent effectiveness and can give patients who are ineligible for high-dose therapy and stem cell transplantation a much needed treatment option. As REVLIMID® is now approved in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Myeloma UK will be working with Celgene and NICE to ensure access to this important treatment for patients living in England.”

REVLIMID®, when used in combination with low-dose dexamethasone, for the treatment of patients with previously untreated multiple myeloma, was approved for use within NHS Scotland in December 2015. Following the SMC decision and in the absence of a NICE recommendation, the Health and Social Care Board provided the same recommendation for the treatment and approved its use in Northern Ireland in April 2016. The NICE submission for REVLIMID® in NDMM was suspended in July 2015 until a patient access scheme is agreed with the Department of Health.

Celgene is committed to improving the lives of multiple myeloma patients across the UK. The company has invested £11.5 million in 11 investigator initiated trials (IITs) within this disease, providing more than 6,500 UK patients with access to Celgene’s therapies.