Pembrolizumab available for more people with Hodgkin lymphoma in Scotland

The Scottish Medicines Consortium has expanded access to pembrolizumab on the NHS in Scotland.

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The Scottish Medicines Consortium has today announced that it is making pembrolizumab available to more people on the NHS in Scotland.

  • It is already available on the NHS in Scotland for adults with Hodgkin lymphoma that has come back or not responded after treatment with brentuximab vedotin and who have either already had a stem cell transplant, or are not able to have one.
  • It will now also be available for adults and children over 3 with Hodgkin lymphoma that has come back or not responded after a stem cell transplant, or who have had two previous courses of treatment for lymphoma and who can’t have a stem cell transplant. This will make it available earlier in the treatment pathway.

Pembrolizumab is a type of targeted drug called a checkpoint inhibitor. It blocks a protein that lymphoma cells use to tell your immune system not to attack them. This helps your immune system recognise and get rid of the lymphoma cells. Pembrolizumab is given through a drip into a vein every 3 to 6 weeks. On the NHS, you can have treatment for up to 2 years.

Pembrolizumab is also being assessed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), to decide if it should be made available to more people in England and Wales on the NHS. We will report on the outcome when it is announced.

Published: 8 November 2021