New breast cancer drug approved for NHS use

A new breast cancer drug, that was previously rejected in 2016, has been approved for use in the NHS. 

The drug, Kadcyla, has been proved to extend the lives of people with terminal cancer of up to six months, whilst also dramatically improving the quality of life.

“NHS cancer survival rates are now at record highs, and this year we’re going to be making major upgrades to modern radiotherapy treatments in every part of England.” said Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England.

“NHS England is also taking practical action to drive greater value from taxpayers’ growing investment in modern drug treatments, and that work is beginning to bear fruit.

“Today’s announcement on Kadcyla shows that for companies who are willing to work with us, there are concrete gains for them, for the NHS and, most importantly, for patients able to get new and innovative drugs.

“In this case, tough negotiation and flexibility between the NHS and Roche means both patients and taxpayers are getting a good deal.”

The drug was previously rejected on cost grounds. It costs of £90,000 a year per patient.

Chief executive of the research charity Breast Cancer Now, Delyth Morgan, said: “We are absolutely delighted that tough negotiation and flexibility by Nice and NHS England, and the willingness of Roche to compromise on price, have ensured that thousands of women with incurable breast cancer will be given precious time to live.”

“We want to congratulate and thank the hundreds of thousands of women, men and families across the country for their relentless campaigning to ensure this crucial lifeline drug is routinely available to those that need it.

“However, this news comes at a time when there is a real possibility that Perjeta, the first-line treatment for this group of patients, could soon be removed from NHS use, with a decision imminent.

“Perjeta’s benefits are extraordinary, offering nearly 16 additional months of life to women with incurable breast cancer, and it is imperative that a solution is found to save this drug, at a cost affordable to both the NHS and the taxpayer.”

Details of the new price agreed between NHS England and Roche are being kept confidential.