The Scottish Medicines Consortium has rejected the secondary breast cancer drug Perjeta for use on the NHS. We share our letter inviting them and drug company Roche to meet with us to discuss the specific issues that stopped Perjeta being approved.

Monday 12 June 2017      Policy and campaigns blog

Scotland’s medicines approval body the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has rejected the secondary breast cancer drug Perjeta for use on the NHS. This is a major blow for women with HER2 positive secondary breast cancer. Perjeta can give women with this type of breast cancer nearly 16 months of extra good quality time with those they love. It’s time for everybody to work together to make this drug available.

We’ve written to the drug company Roche and the SMC inviting them to meet with us and work together to make this drug available through Scotland’s health service. Read our letter below.

Dear Roche and the SMC,

We are bitterly disappointed that pertuzumab (Perjeta) will not be available to treat women with HER2 positive secondary breast cancer in Scotland. I am therefore inviting you to join Breast Cancer Now to look at how the issues that are preventing this drug being available to patients on the NHS in Scotland can be addressed.

This drug offers another significant step-change in treatment for this type of incurable breast cancer. It’s a targeted medicine that can give patients nearly 16 months of good quality extra time to live compared to existing treatments. That’s more precious time with the ones they love.

Patients with the disease and their families tell us that the extra time this drug can offer gives them hope. Hope of spending another Christmas together, another birthday or wedding anniversary; hope of making memories that will last beyond a lifetime.

The consequences of today’s decision cannot be underestimated. Patients will miss out on a medicine that could keep them alive for longer. They and their loved ones will now have no choice but to pay for this drug themselves or appeal to the NHS to make an exception for them through an Individual Patient Treatment Request. Both options are incredibly stressful and uncertain.

At Breast Cancer Now we believe that if we all act now, by 2050, everyone who develops breast cancer will live and live well. To achieve this ambition we need to work together and make sure that the advances we make in laboratories get to patients as soon as possible. We simply cannot do this without you.

We can and must find a way through the barriers preventing Perjeta being made available on Scotland’s NHS.

I hope that you will accept our invitation to discuss these issues. Together, I am hopeful we can find a way forward.

Yours sincerely,

Mary Allison

Director for Scotland at Breast Cancer Now

More information

Read our full response to the SMC's decision