From June 2017, thousands of women in England with incurable secondary breast cancer will be denied access to the revolutionary drug, Kadcyla.
This is because NICE - the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence - and the pharmaceutical company Roche couldn’t find a compromise to keep this drug available to new patients in desperate need of a lifeline.
Women like Bonnie, who was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer when her son was just four months old. Kadcyla would be her next drug when her current treatment stops working.
“I already feel cheated being diagnosed with secondary breast cancer at 37 with a baby, so having a drug taken away that could potentially add years to my life and give me more quality time with my son is so cruel.”
On the 29 December 2016 we launched a petition calling on Roche and NICE to come together to re-assess this decision and find a solution to keep Kadcyla available.
On 23 January the petition closed, with over 115,000 signatures – a clear demonstration of the strength of public feeling about Kadcyla. We hope NICE and Roche have listened and will take the required action to keep this drug available.
The committee tasked with appraising Kadcyla will meet again at the start of February with the final decision on whether it will be accepted for routine use on the NHS or rejected, expected sometime between late February and mid-March.
What's the background to this campaign?
This effective treatment, with few side effects, is at risk of being denied to new patients unless a solution is reached urgently. If NICE and Roche refuse to act, this vital treatment option will be taken away from thousands of women who are relying on it.
This time last year, we were concerned that the secondary breast cancer drug Kadcyla would be removed from the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF). We called on Roche, Kadcyla’s manufacturer, to lower the price of the drug and ensure its continued availability for all patients in England via the CDF. As a result of our campaign, Roche lowered the price and Kadcyla remained available.
Due to changes in the CDF, however, Kadcyla has recently been subject to another appraisal by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which assesses the clinical and cost-effectiveness of drugs. Devastatingly, it has been provisionally rejected, which means that it could be withdrawn from new patients as early as June 2017- depending on a final decision that will be made early in 2017.
We believe that while Roche has offered a substantial discount they must now lower their price further. But critical to this outcome is NICE’s decision to use a comparator drug to calculate the cost-effectiveness of Kadcyla that is not even available to patients. We feel that this must be reconsidered and that had an appropriate comparator drug been selected, the discounted price may have seen Kadcyla fall within the cost-effectiveness threshold.
It’s time NICE and Roche put patients’ lives first and come up with a deal to ensure Kadcyla remains available to those whose lives are dependent on it. Women with secondary breast cancer have no time to lose.