Last July, we launched our Time For Trodelvy campaign to ensure that all eligible patients could access Trodelvy (also known as sacituzumab govitecan), an exciting new drug that could give certain women living with triple negative secondary breast cancer (TNSBC) the hope of more time.

In this blog, we’ll share some great news about the campaign, what it means and what comes next.

Time for Trodelvy: Thank you

A major breakthrough

When the campaign was launched, we called on pharmaceutical company, Gilead, to make Trodelvy available, free of charge, to all eligible patients through an interim access agreement with NHS England, while NICE assessed the drug and decided whether it would become routinely available on the NHS. We knew an interim access arrangement was possible as it had happened for other cancer drugs. 

We are now pleased to say, that thanks to the sustained pressure of our campaign Gilead, has increased the supply of Trodelvy available through their own pre-reimbursement access scheme and are now confident that they will be able to supply all eligible women, free of charge, until a decision about its routine use on the NHS is announced which we are expecting in May 2022.

Previously their scheme which was introduced in September 2021 had been limited in numbers and we have continued to raise concerns that this worked on a first come-first-served basis, meaning patients could have missed out, so this development will now come as major reassurance for women living with the disease.

How Breast Cancer Now supporters made the difference

The work of Breast Cancer Now supporters was instrumental in securing this breakthrough. Together, with their support, we secured cross-party political support for the campaign and were able to take the voices of our patient advocates to Gilead’s global CEO.

We also received an unprecedented 220,000 signatures on our petition, which was, by some distance, the biggest online action in the history of the charity. Thank you once again to everyone who signed it! You can read more about everything we’ve done alongside our amazing supporters here

Nicola Tracey, who is living with incurable triple negative secondary breast cancer and has been at the forefront of the campaign said:

“I’m so grateful to everyone who supported our campaign – this is such good news for all the women who could benefit from Trodelvy but were worried that it might not be there for them when they needed it - thank you!”

Our work doesn’t stop here

Whilst we are now reassured that Gilead will be able to supply Trodelvy to every woman who needs it, because they chose to supply patients through their own scheme, rather than agreeing a deal with the NHS England, which we believed would have been the optimum route, we will continue to work to ensure that they deliver what is needed. If any future issues arise with supply or we hear that patients are struggling with access, we won’t hesitate to take further action. 

We will also be continuing to input into the NICE appraisal process and do everything we can to ensure it becomes available for routine use on the NHS in England. Wales and Northern Ireland normally follow NICE decisions. 

We’ve also been inputting into the Scottish Medicines Consortium’s (SMC) appraisal of Trodelvy and a decision is expected on its use on the NHS in Scotland in early March 2022 so we’ll keep you updated. 

Finally, to avoid future scenarios like this from happening again, we will be continuing to work with the Government, the NHS, NICE and pharmaceutical companies to ensure that new clinically effective treatments don’t face similar delays.

A big thank you to our patient advocates

We’d like to say a special thank you to our patient advocates Philippa, Jo, Nicola, Sophie, Miranda and Lorna who have campaigned tirelessly over the last few months to make this outcome happen.

We’d also like to remember Emma Metcalfe and Beth Coppin, two of our patient advocates who died while campaigning for access to the drug. We believe that this announcement will go on to form a powerful part of their legacy. Their deaths are also a stark reminder of just how crucial it is that new clinically-effective treatments like Trodelvy reach the patients who need them as quickly as possible.

 

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