Scotland follows England, Wales and Northern Ireland in making olaparib available to all women with hereditary ovarian cancer

06 December 2019

Today the Scottish Medicine Consortium made the decision to make PARP inhibitor olaparib available to women diagnosed with BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer. 

Olaparib, also known as Lynparza, is a maintenance treatment; it doesn’t cure ovarian cancer but it does prevent its progression. By delaying the spread of the disease, women can feel better and live healthier lives for longer.

Previously the treatment was only available to patients with BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer who had undergone two or more courses of platinum-based chemotherapy with sufficient progression-free intervals in-between.

Ovarian Cancer Action was one of several charities contributing to the SMC’s decision, providing patient experience and expert input.  

Marie-Claire Platt, Head of Public Affairs and Research at Ovarian Cancer Action, said: “Today’s news marks a significant advancement in how we can treat BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer in Scotland. Genetic testing is vital for women to access this treatment but despite guidelines, we know 29% of ovarian cancer patients across the UK are missing out. Addressing this inequality must be a Government priority to ensure women do not miss out on treatment.”

Niraparib is a PARP inhibitor for women with high grade serous non-mucinous epithelial ovarian cancer, regardless of whether they have a BRCA gene mutation of not. Women with and without a BRCA gene mutation are eligible for the drug if they haven’t previously been prescribed a PARP inhibitor as part of their treatment.