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SMC say NO to nivolumab

by | Nov 7, 2016 | Kidney Cancer News, Scottish News

Kidney Cancer Scotland call for reversal of SMC nivolumab ‘no’ rulingfor kidney cancer patients on NHS

Kidney Cancer Scotland is calling for the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) to reverse their announcment that they will not recommended the drug nivolumab for use in late stage kidney cancer through the NHS. This ruling could condemn hundreds of kidney cancer patients to an early death.
Kidney cancer patients across Scotland were optimistic of good news in the light of the excellent scientific data surrounding nivolumab and the recent positive recommendation by NICE for the drug in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and as such is bitterly disappointed that SMC have not recommended the drug. Data for nivolumab trials show a higher quality of life due to fewer side effects. The patient experiences a far less intense regime of treatment and the drug offers an extended life expectancy to some with advanced stage kidney cancer. From first hand conversations Kidney Cancer Scotland have had with patients taking part in trials confirms the data to be realistic, if not understated.
Kidney cancer patient, Julie Martin, said; “It is devastating for patients to learn that this new unique medication has not been approved for use in Scotland. This medication has trails in the UK that have proven reducing the size of tumours or stabilising the disease to lengthen life expectancy far beyond other drugs for many sufferers. For us patients, hope is vitally important and for those whose present treatment has failed the non-approval of nivolumab has destroyed this.”
Karen McNee, of Kidney Cancer Scotland, added; “We are shocked and deeply concerned that the SMC did not see the obvious importance and value of this drug to late stage kidney cancer patients. The facts are there in the research, we have seen it first-hand and spoken to patients who have been involved in trials and the benefits of making nivolumab available through the NHS are blindingly clear. Why is it recommended for use in melanoma and not kidney cancer? It simply does not make sense. We will continue to campaign vigorously, support and present argument in all areas we can to SMC. They must see how many people would benefit from the improved quality of life, extended life expectancy and hope nivolumab would give them. We will call for the SMC to reconsider this recommendation without delay.”
Kidney cancer is a silent killer and for many the first time they hear those words are from their doctor. Be aware, look for the symptoms; persistent cough, a lump or pain in your flank, traces of blood in your urine and get checked before it’s too late.
There are many symptoms, for more information, support and guidance relating to on kidney cancer visit or call our free Careline 0800 002 9002.

  • In 2013 more than 11,800 people across the UK were diagnosed with kidney cancer, that’s about 33 people each day.
  • The incidence of kidney cancer has been steadily increasing in the UK, mainly attributed to lifestyle factors, such as obesity and smoking.
  • In addition, an increase in the number of tumours detected when a patient has a scan for an unrelated condition may have contributed to the rise in the number of cases.
  • Kidney cancer is now the seventh most common cancer in the UK and accounts for three per cent of all new diagnoses of cancer; it is the fifth most common type of cancer in men and the tenth in women.

For further information or support for patients, carers, family or friends relating to any kidney cancer matters, please visit or our free Careline is available by calling 0800 002 9002.

<a href="" target="_self">Malcolm Packer</a>

Malcolm Packer

Malcolm is Chief Executive Officer at Kidney Cancer UK and Kidney Cancer Scotland and has worked with the charity in various capacities for over 15 years.