We’re delighted to share that major new breast cancer drug palbociclib (Ibrance, Pfizer) and ribociclib (Kisqali, Novartis) are now routinely available to NHS patients in Wales.
Palbociclib and ribociclib are both licensed as first-line treatments for post-menopausal patients with hormone receptor (HR) positive, HER2 negative locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer. They form part of a new class of drugs that work by inhibiting two crucial cell division proteins called CDK4 and CDK6 – known as CDK4/6 inhibitors.
Clinical trials suggest that both palbociclib and ribociclib, given with letrozole (an aromatase inhibitor), could substantially improve upon letrozole alone for treatment of this type of breast cancer, offering around 10 additional months of progression-free survival compared to letrozole alone.
Following the launch of the Welsh Government’s New Treatment Fund in January 2017, health boards in Wales are now required to make medicines recommended for use by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) or the All Wales Medicine Strategy Group available within two months of the first publication of final guidance.
Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said:
"We’re absolutely delighted that women in Wales are now able to access palbociclib and ribociclib.
"These drugs represent a life-changing and long-awaited step forward in treatment for many patients with metastatic breast cancer and their introduction to NHS care in Wales is fantastic news for patients and their doctors.
"Palbociclib and ribociclib are part of an exciting new generation of medicines and we’re thrilled that hundreds of women each year in Wales can now be given significant extra time before their condition progresses – time that will be truly invaluable to them and their loved ones."