Sally Greenbrook discusses the importance of the Demand a Fair Price campaign.

Friday 12 September 2014      Policy and campaigns blog
The first step towards stopping breast cancer for good

In the last year alone, three drugs for secondary breast cancer have been rejected by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for routine use on the NHS in England and Wales. The same drugs have either been rejected or are still be assessed for use on the NHS in Scotland. And authorities in Northern Ireland usually follow NICE’s recommendations so these drugs are not routinely available anywhere in the UK.

These drugs are simply too expensive to be approved for routine use in the UK. They are currently available in England on the Cancer Drugs Fund. However, the Cancer Drugs Fund is only available in England and is due to expire in 2016. And recent announcements mean that the future of drugs currently available on the Cancer Drugs Fund is uncertain.

These drugs are proven to provide women with secondary breast cancer more freedom from side effects and, crucially, more precious time with their families. But the system isn’t working and breast cancer patients and their families are paying the price.

We’re determined to stop breast cancer for good, and making sure every woman receives the treatment she needs is the first step. We’re calling on the UK Government and the devolved administrations to commit to making sure all breast cancer patients – no matter where they live – can access the drugs they need, whether that’s through an extension of the Cancer Drugs Fund or another, similar system.

However, this isn’t a long-term solution. That’s why we’re urging the next UK Government and pharmaceutical companies to commit to working together to find a long term, sustainable solution to this problem that means innovative, effective drugs can be made available at prices the NHS is able to pay.

It’s impossible to put a price on life’s precious moments but it’s not impossible to put a fair price on drugs.

Sign up to our campaign at breakthrough.org.uk/demandafairprice to demand a fair price for life-extending drugs. Join the conversation on twitter with the hashtag #DemandAFairPrice
 

About the author

Sally Greenbrook is Policy Manager at Breast Cancer Now. She has a background in health policy and enjoys getting lost in the detail of the policy world.