A drug which could extend the lives of secondary breast cancer patients has been accepted today by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) for use on the NHS in Scotland.

Monday 7 March 2016      Scotland
Scottish women with incurable breast cancer to benefit from SMC’s approval of a life-extending drug

Eribulin is a chemotherapy drug used to treat advanced breast cancer. It is usually used for people who have already had at least two other courses of chemotherapy. It works by stopping the cancer cells from separating into two new cells, therefore blocking the growth of the cancer.

Commenting on the SMC’s announcement to approve the drug eribulin (Halaven), Breast Cancer Now’s Director for Scotland Mary Allison, said:

“We welcome the SMC’s decision to approve eribulin. This gives women in Scotland who are living with incurable secondary breast cancer more treatment options and hope of more time to live.
“However, the system is far from perfect. A number of promising life-extending drugs have been rejected through this very process. We believe the system can and must work better to get a fair deal for the NHS and unlock promising medicines for patients.
“We welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to review ways to improve access to these medicines. We’re looking forward to submitting our proposals for improvements to ensure the system in Scotland is working at its best for the women who desperately want to access these life-extending drugs and the hope they bring.”

Along with today’s announcement, the SMC also announced its rejection of breast cancer drug pertuzumab (Perjeta) to be used as a treatment for early stage breast cancer. The drug was rejected on the basis that there was not a strong enough economic analysis of the drug. Pertuzumab (Perjeta) has also previously been rejected as a life-extending treatment for women with incurable secondary breast cancer.

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