The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has today announced that it is not recommending advanced breast cancer drug trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla) for routine use on the NHS, in new draft guidance following its reappraisal.

Thursday 29 December 2016      Campaigns and policy
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Kadcyla is currently being funded through the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) and those who are currently being treated with it will not lose access. However, unless this draft decision is reversed ahead of its final consultation, this drug will not be available to new patients in England in the future, despite currently being available in this and many other European countries. The decision comes following the failure of NICE and the manufacturer, Roche Pharmaceuticals, to reach an agreement that would see Kadcyla remain available on the NHS.

Breast Cancer Now has today launched an immediate and urgent petition – to Sir Andrew Dillon, Chief Executive at NICE, and Richard Erwin, General Manager at Roche Products – to urge the two parties to urgently return to the table and find a solution to overturn this draft decision.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said:

“This disastrous decision is a huge setback for the treatment of advanced breast cancer. Kadcyla offers significant and precious extra time for women with incurable cancer in great need of hope, and we mustn’t let it slip away.

“NICE and Roche’s inability to find a compromise is seeing secondary breast cancer patients left abandoned. Responsibility lies on both sides, and such reckless brinkmanship is unfortunately about to rip away one of the best breast cancer drugs in years from patients in desperate need of a lifeline.

“We welcome that Roche have offered a substantial discount, but they must now lower their price even further. However, NICE’s decision to use a comparator drug to calculate the cost-effectiveness of Kadcyla that is not even available to patients is wholly inappropriate and must be reconsidered. We believe that, had an appropriate comparator drug been selected, the discounted price may have seen Kadcyla fall within the cost-effectiveness threshold.

“This outcome also speaks volumes about a drug appraisal system that is just not working for metastatic breast cancer patients. This targeted drug is available in many other countries, including France, Germany, Australia and Canada and it is nowhere near good enough that women in England will be denied such an effective option.

“There are now just four weeks left to find a settlement. We are today launching an urgent petition to plead with NICE and Roche to reach a deal, and we urge the whole country to make their voices heard. Unless we see willing and urgent movement from both parties, this vital advance will bypass patients in England forever.”

More information

Find out more about our campaign to keep Kadcyla available to secondary breast cancer patients in England.