New advanced drugs available on Welsh NHS with £14m investment
Patients in Wales will have access to new drugs to treat hepatitis C and those with a rare life-threatening disorder of the immune system after the Welsh Government announced almost £14m of new funding yesterday.
The £13.8 million, announced by Finance Minister Jane Hutt, will allow the Welsh NHS to treat more patients with a number of medicines approved by NICE and the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group earlier this year.
They include sofosbuvir, which is used in the treatment of hepatitis C. This new, oral treatment avoids lengthy courses of injections and has a very high cure rate and will help thousands of people including those infected through contaminated blood transfusions.
The investment in new medicines will also give patients access to eculizumab a treatment for the extremely rare life-threatening immune disorder atypical Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome, known as a HUS, which reduces the need for dialysis or kidney transplants in these patients.
In January the NHS drug advisory body, NICE ruled that eculizumab could give people with aHUS an extra 25 years of life. Initial estimates indicate there may be up to 14 people in Wales who could benefit from the treatment which costs around £340,000 per patient per year.
Three further hepatitis C treatments, daclatasvir, simeprevir, and ledipasvir will also be made available on the NHS in Wales to people who meet the clinical criteria as a result if this major investment in medicines.
Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford said:
“I am pleased to announce this significant new investment, which will give patients in Wales access to these advanced treatments.
“Patients with the hepatitis C virus will now be able to access new treatments that in many cases will cure the individual.
“Those suffering with the extremely rare condition aHUS will now have access to the high-cost but life-changing drug eculizumab, which will improve their quality of life dramatically.”
“These drugs will make a real difference to the lives of those affected by these distressing and potentially life-threatening conditions.”
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