First biologic treatment for chronic skin disease available in Scotland on NHS

By Isabel Cameron

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags Biologics Dermatology Scotland NHS

Following positive advice from the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC), the first biologic treatment for inflammatory skin disease, hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), is now available in Scotland on the NHS.

The treatment, secukinumab, is licensed for adults living with active moderate to severe HS where adalimumab, the most common treatment for the condition, is contraindicated or unsuitable, including those who have failed to respond or have lost response to prior adalimumab treatment.

Developed by Novartis, it is the second biologic treatment option to receive positive SMC advice for the treatment of HS, offering a new option to help patients manage their condition.

HS is a long-term, painful, chronic and progressive inflammatory skin disease that causes recurring boil-like lumps that can burst into open wounds, leading to irreversible scarring, often in the most intimate parts of the body.

The condition affects approximately 2% of the Scottish population, with over 50% of people reporting a mental health impact. In addition, on average, it takes 10 years for people living with HS to receive a correct diagnosis, resulting in disease progression and impacting their quality of life.

“Knowing how HS has a profound impact on people’s personal relationships and quality of life, together with the actors in the healthcare system, we refuse to accept ‘good enough’ and we challenge the idea that people with inflammatory diseases must settle for a life of limitations”, said Marie-Andrée Gamache, country president and managing director at Novartis UK and Ireland.

“Today’s SMC decision is a result of this commitment, reimagining healthcare for people living with HS. To date secukinumab has been used to treat over 1 million patients worldwide across all indications and could now provide another treatment option to eligible people living with HS in Scotland.”

The approval by the SMC is based on ‘solid’ results from two trials in the largest phase 3 programme in HS to date.

The data demonstrated that treatment response rates in patients randomised to secukinumab continued to improve beyond the primary endpoint analysis at week 16, with more than 55% of patients achieving a positive clinical response at Week 52.

“We are delighted that the SMC has decided to make secukinumab available to eligible people in Scotland living with HS. Those living with the condition often experience debilitating pain, which can make everyday tasks such as dressing, bathing and sitting at a desk chair really challenging,” added Phil Brady, chief operating officer at the British Skin Foundation.

“HS can also have a substantial impact on many other aspects of a person’s life, such as their mental health and relationships. New treatment options are needed to help the HS community find relief from the burden of this disease.”

Until now, there has only been one approved treatment for HS, adalimumab, which may not be suitable for everyone, said consultant dermatologist Dr Fiona Craig.

“The approval of secukinumab for HS by the SMC is a positive step for sufferers of this condition in Scotland and provides physicians in Scotland with a second treatment option that has been shown to reduce disease activity and improve the quality of life for patients with HS,” she added.

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