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Mavenclad (cladribine) available immediately in England for highly active relapsing multiple sclerosis

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NHS England and Merck have reached an agreement that people eligible for treatment can access Mavenclad (cladribine) immediately.

Last week, NICE announced that Mavenclad is approved as a treatment for people with highly active relapsing MS. Once approved, the drug would normally be available on the NHS in England within three months. However, this agreement between NHS England and the manufacturer, Merck, means that Mavenclad can be prescribed immediately.

"A diagnosis of MS can be devastating, and it is important that people can access effective treatments as and when they need them. We are delighted that this new treatment is being made available quickly in England and hope that those across the rest of the UK will not face unnecessary barriers. We hope that the NHS will work with other drug manufacturers to ensure that people with MS get rapid access to future drugs for managing MS and its symptoms."

Jo Sopala, Director of Development

In Wales, Mavenclad will be available as an NHS treatment in early 2018. Mavenclad is currently being appraised by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) and the MS Trust is contributing to the appraisal. A decision is expected in early 2018. A decision for Northern Ireland should be made in the next few months.

About Mavenclad

Mavenclad is a disease modifying drug for people with highly active relapsing remitting MS.  NICE has recommended that cladribine can be prescribed only if you have:

  • rapidly evolving severe relapsing remitting MS (at least two relapses in previous year and one gadolinium-enhancing lesion on an MRI scan), or
  • relapsing remitting MS that has responded inadequately to treatment with another disease modifying drug (one relapse in previous year and MRI evidence of disease activity).

The drug is taken as a pill in two treatment courses, twelve months apart:

  • Year one – In the first course, Mavenclad pills are taken for four or five days consecutively at the beginning of the first month and then four or five days consecutively at the beginning of the second month.
  • Year two – The second course is taken 12 months later and follows the same pattern.

In clinical trials no further treatment was required in years three and four.