Women in Scotland gain new ovarian cancer treatment

10 May 2021
pill niraparib

Today the Scottish Medicine Consortium (SMC) has made maintenance treatment Niraparib (also known as Zejula) available to women diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer in Scotland. The drug offers a new treatment option where there was none before. 

Ovarian Cancer Action helped inform the Scottish Medicine Consortium’s decision by providing a patient perspective of the difference this drug could mean to women with ovarian cancer. We asked members of our community who had experience of Niraparib (it has been available as a second then first-line treatment in England) to describe its benefits, which helped the SMC panel make today’s decision. 

Our community shared with us that earlier access to Niraparib provides them with an option to feel they are actively stopping the disease from progressing, and gives them more and good quality time with their friends and family. Although not always measurable, these cannot be underestimated in terms of the difference they make to women and families affected by ovarian cancer.

The PARP inhibitor is now available as a treatment to women newly diagnosed with advanced epithelial high-grade ovarian, Fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer in Scotland regardless of their BRCA status. Previously it was only available in Scotland to treat an ovarian cancer recurrence and only for women who were not carriers of an altered BRCA gene (often called a mutation). 

Maintenance treatments such as Niraparib do not cure cancer, but they can prevent disease progression and so give women more good quality time with their friends and family. 

Cary Wakefield, Chief Executive of Ovarian Cancer Action said: “The feedback we hear from our community is that access to new maintenance treatments like Nirabarib offer immeasurable benefits in terms of quality of life, added hope, and more time with family members. The difference this makes to entire families cannot be overstated. We’re delighted we could elevate the voice of our patient community to help the SMC make an informed decision that will benefit women with ovarian cancer in Scotland both now and in the future.”

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