The Early Access to Medicines Scheme (EAMS) aims to provide access to medicines prior to market authorization for patients with severe, life-threatening diseases who do not have adequate treatment options. An EAMS designation enables the potential collection of United Kingdom-specific real world evidence (RWE) prior to health technology assessment (HTA) by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). This research evaluates whether RWE is being gathered through the EAMS and utilized to support HTA submissions.
All EAMS designations as of 7 November 2018 were identified from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency website. For products with final NICE guidance, all publicly-available NICE documentation was reviewed.
Sixteen product and indication pairings with an EAMS designation were identified, with 12 having received final NICE guidance (11 were recommended, 3 were recommended for temporary reimbursement via the Cancer Drugs Fund, and 2 were not recommended). Of the 11 recommended products, seven had references to the number of patients or sites with product access through the EAMS, but only one (dupilumab for atopic dermatitis) had detailed data collected during the EAMS period. The manufacturer of dupilumab reported baseline demographics and disease characteristics from a cohort of 35 patients treated under the EAMS to inform the generalizability of trial populations for clinical practice. Follow-up results from this cohort demonstrated that real-world data on dupilumab effectiveness was comparable with the clinical trial data, despite a higher proportion of patients in the real-world cohort receiving immunosuppressant therapy, which makes improvements in efficacy harder to achieve. The committee also noted that the RWE presented supported the understanding of dupilumab's long-term clinical effectiveness and informed assumptions for the economic model.
To date, the majority of products receiving an EAMS designation have not presented RWE at NICE reappraisal. The case of dupilumab illustrated how RWE collected through the EAMS can be used to reduce uncertainty around how clinical trial data can be translated into clinical practice. In the future, RWE may increasingly be used to help inform NICE decisions.