Treatment for the rare and incurable disease pulmonary arterial hypertension, which affects approximately 3,000 people in the UK, has been available in all of the UK with the exception of England. But now NHS England says it will fund Acetlion’s Uptravi (selexipag), an oral treatment that specifically targets the prostacyclin pathway, for adults with one of the more severe forms of the disease who remain insufficiently controlled despite receiving oral treatment with two other classes of PAH medicines. The disease is caused by a narrowing of the blood vessels that lead from the right side of the heart to the lungs, resulting in increased blood pressure in these vessels. If left untreated average life expectancy for some types of PAH can be just two or three years. A phase III clinical study of the drug involving over 1,000 people with PAH demonstrated a 40% reduction in the risk of a primary outcome event.
“Uptravi for PAH to receive NHS England funding.“
Dr Iain Armstrong, chair of Pulmonary Hypertension Association UK, said: “Until today, we have seen an untenable situation where patients in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland had access to this medicine, while those in England did not. We are therefore delighted that patients across the UK can now access selexipag, regardless of postcode. PAH patients suffer from considerable life-limiting symptoms including breathlessness which can prevent normal everyday activities, and having access to new treatments that are shown to be effective is vital.”