NHS says no to new breast cancer drug Kadcyla

  • Posted

Posted 10/08/2014

Julie Crossley 1397333021_JulieCrossleyCPX.jpg

A pioneering new breast cancer treatment will not be routinely available in England, the NHS drugs advisory body NICE is proposing. The drug – Kadcyla – adds six months of life on average to women dying with an aggressive form of breast cancer.

NICE criticised makers Roche for not setting an affordable price, in its updated draft guidance. The drug costs £90,000 per patient but Roche said it had offered a lower – undisclosed – price in recent talks.

The two organisations have been in negotiations since the first draft guidance from NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence), rejecting the drug, was published in April. While this latest guidance is only the final draft version, there tends not to be any major changes when the official recommendations are published – normally a few months after this stage.

The original cost of Kadcyla worked out at £90,000 per patient – that is based on the standard 14 months of treatment. Roche said it had offered to lower the price “substantially”, but NICE said the new price – which is not being disclosed – made little difference.

It works by seeking out and destroying cancerous cells, attacking them from within.

Its novel action means it is unlikely to cause the side-effects, such as hair loss, seen with many other types of chemotherapy. For advanced cancer, the aim is remission rather than cure

One patient, who managed to get the drug through a trial at London’s Royal Marsden Hospital, described it as “amazing”. She said: “I can have a great life. I don’t feel ill, the side-effects are so minimal I lead a really normal life. “And I know how much it costs but at the end of the day you can’t put a price on your life and that’s what [Roche] are asking people to do.

It means the only way women will be able to get access to the treatment is through the Cancer Drugs Fund, for which their doctors would have to make special requests. Since April more than 200 women have been given Kadcyla in this way, but the Cancer Drugs Fund is due to end in 2016.

While the guidance applies only to England, officials in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland do consider NICE recommendations. None of them currently fund the drug.

Julie Crossley a Medical Injury Lawyer at Ashtonkcj comments “this is terribly sad in that a drug which whilst it cannot cure the cancer can appear to give an extension to life and without some of the awful side effects we see in chemotherapy is being made unaffordable and denying people the opportunity to extend their lives. Working on cases where cancer is diagnosed late, sometimes negligently, we know how important it is that families and individuals have as much good quality time as is possible.”


    How can we help you?

    Please fill in the form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible or to speak to one of our experts call
    0330 404 0749

    I accept that my data will be held for the purpose of my enquiry in accordance with Ashtons
    Privacy Policy

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

    How can we help?

    If you have an enquiry or you would like to find out more about our services, why not contact us?