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- People with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) are at greater risk of heart disease
- 1 in 250 people in the UK are believed to have FH
- Over 260,000 people in the UK may have FH, with fewer than 10% diagnosed
- 56,000 children in the UK may have FH but only 600 of these are known
Access to New Medicines
PCSK9 inhibitors are a new form of medicines that help the liver to lower cholesterol levels in the blood.
Research suggests that these new drugs could be very helpful for some people with high levels of cholesterol and at high risk of early and avoidable heart disease.
NICE recommended making these new medicines available for patients in England on 22nd June 2016 and previously by the All Wales Medicines Group for patients in Wales. The Scottish Medicines Consortium has not recommended funding however, which means Scottish patients will not be allowed access to these medicines on the NHS.
Two companies currently manufacture PCSK9 inhibitor medicines and these are Sanofi and Amgen. Sanofi's medicine is called Praluent and sometimes referred to its non-brand name of alirocumab and Amgen's medicine is called Repatha and sometimes referred to by its non-brand name of evolocumab.
Not everyone is eligible for these medicines and NICE only recommends funding on the NHS according to this table:
Patients will need a referral from a GP to a specialist centre at a hospital, called a lipid clinic, to get a prescription and afterwards most people will be able to take the medicines themselves at home.
HEART UK campaigned to allow access to these medicines and submitted evidence to NICE written by the Medical, Scientific and Research Committee and also included comments from patients and those affected by high cholesterol, in addition to giving expert opinion at the committee meetings.