Today, Monday 10 June, the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) approved the use of Benralizumab, a new biologic drug which could transform the lives of thousands of people with a severe form of asthma in Scotland.* The drug was approved in the rest of the UK earlier this year.
Responding to the news, Dr Samantha Walker, director of research and policy at Asthma UK said:
“This kind of biologic medication could be a life-changing treatment that could signal hope to thousands of people in Scotland who have an acute form of asthma called severe eosinophilic asthma.
“This debilitating form of asthma is resistant to regular treatments such as inhalers and steroids, meaning many people are left dealing with terrifying asthma symptoms such as gasping for breath, or repeated trips to A&E.
“Whilst it is heartening that the Scottish Medicines Consortium is taking severe asthma more seriously, people in Scotland are still missing out compared to those with the condition in England.
“The criteria for accessing Benralizumab will be stricter in Scotland, and access to the clinics where you can get the drug is limited.
“Asthma UK wants as many people with severe asthma as possible to be able to access biologic drugs, which could transform their quality of life and help them breathe more easily.”
Olivia Fulton, 33, from Edinburgh, has debilitating severe asthma which has caused her to give up her job as a nurse. She could now be eligible for Benralizumab. She says:
“My severe asthma leaves me gasping for breath, exhausted and unable to even walk down the road. While I’ve had asthma all my life, it worsened as I got older. I had no choice but to take long-term oral steroids at a high dose which has left me with terrible side effects including osteoporosis. I used to be sporty and had my dream job as a nurse but my asthma got so bad I had to give it up. This new drug could transform my life allowing me to get back into work and regain my independence. It’s high time that severe asthma was taken seriously and that everyone who needs this kind of drug is able to get it.”
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