Life-extending breast cancer drug Perjeta (pertuzumab) will once again be considered by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC), following the news that its manufacturer, Roche, has resubmitted the treatment for appraisal for treating HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer.
Perjeta, given in combination with Herceptin (trastuzumab) and docetaxel (a chemotherapy drug), is a first-line treatment for patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer. It gives patients with incurable breast cancer an additional 16 months of good-quality life, on average – compared to the alternative treatment option of trastuzumab and docetaxel alone.
Despite being available in other parts of the UK, Perjeta has been rejected three times by the SMC to date for use in Scotland, as it is not considered cost-effective.
In May 2018, we launched our Perjeta Now campaign to call for all parties to urgently work together to ensure Scottish women with HER 2-positive incurable breast cancer are able to routinely access this drug, just like women in other parts of the UK.
In addition to resubmitting Perjeta for use in metastatic breast cancer, Roche has also applied for Perjeta to be used as a ‘neoadjuvant’ therapy on Scotland’s NHS – to shrink a tumour prior to surgery.
Fiona Hazell, Director of Policy and Engagement at Breast Cancer Now, said:
The resubmission of Perjeta is a promising step forward for patients and a really significant milestone for our Perjeta Now campaign.
This long-awaited progress is testimony to the power and determination of thousands of patients and campaigners who have helped bring this injustice to light. Over 8,800 people have signed our Perjeta Now petition, which shows just how much public support there is for this drug to be available in Scotland.
We hope that Roche and NHS Scotland have ensured the best possible deal has been put forward and that the Scottish Medicines Consortium will recognise the life-changing impact of this drug for patients and their loved ones.
But the campaign is far from finished. It is totally unacceptable that Scottish women with HER 2-positive incurable breast cancer still cannot routinely access this drug, despite it being available in other parts of the UK. That means potentially missing out on nearly 16 extra months of life on average compared to other treatments.
We need the SMC, the Scottish Government, and Roche to do everything they can to ensure Perjeta is made available at a price the NHS can afford.
If you haven't already done so, then please do sign the petition today. Your support will make a big difference to the hundreds of women and families who desperately need this drug.”
Perjeta Now campaigner and mum of two, Jen Hardy from Edinburgh is living with HER2 positive secondary breast cancer. She has been denied Perjeta – which could give her significant extra precious time with her family. Jen said:
I’m delighted that Perjeta has now been resubmitted to the Scottish Medicines Consortium and I would like to thank everyone who has helped us to get to this stage. “Telling my story hasn’t been easy at times but knowing that we’re making progress makes it worthwhile.
While this is really encouraging news, our campaigning continues. We won’t stop until this life-extending drug is available to women in Scotland on the NHS – as it is in England and Wales. Please join me and sign the Perjeta Now petition.”