Breast Cancer Drug to be Removed From Cancer Drugs Fund

A breast cancer drug will not be routinely offered on the NHS, despite considerable negotiation from the drug manufacturer.

Kadcyla has been shown to be effective in extending the lives of breast cancer patients.

NICE has indicated that the price tag per patient, at £90,000 per individual, is not tenable.

Manufacturer Roche claims that it offered a discount; the same one it used to cut a deal with the Cancer Drugs Fund.

And it will still be possible for females in England to acquire the drug from this fund for the time being.

Kadcyla can add about six months of life to those with incurable breast cancer.

It is also utilsed to treat people with HER2-positive breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and cannot be surgically removed.

An undisclosed price had been agreed between the manufacturer of the drug and NHS England, with the intention of ensuring that the medicine is not taking off the Cancer Drugs Fund.

However, with the fund due to be eliminated permanently in March 2016, it seems that this treatment is about to be permanently blackballed in the United Kingdom.

The government has no intention to create a replacement to the fund at the time of writing.

Although negotiations are ongoing, charities are concerned that more breast cancer patients could miss out on getting Kadcyla in the near future if no deal is reached between those holding the purse strings of the NHS and the drug manufacturer.

Roche claims that around 800 women every year benefit from the existing medication.

But NICE believes that the price of Kadcyla is simply too high to justify its general usage compared to the clinical merits derived from it.

NICE has stated that its decision on the subject is final, although it will review the guidance if any further research becomes available.

Roche has indicated that it would be willing to return to the negotiating table with NICE.

Sally Greenbrook, of the group Breast Cancer Now, suggested that patients would ultimately suffer as a result of this decision.

“Women in England who could benefit from Kadcyla are covered – for now – by the Cancer Drugs Fund, but with just months until the new Fund is introduced, we’re yet to be convinced that the proposals will improve the outlook for breast cancer patients. We’ll do all we can to ensure that reform of the Fund leads to positive change but given that the plans include using similar thresholds to those used by NICE, and no mention of pricing negotiations, we’re concerned that the new Fund will fail to improve on the existing one and may make matters worse.”

Kadcyla is not available on the NHS in Scotland.


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