The Welsh Government has today (20 June 2017) announced that life-extending breast cancer drug Kadcyla will be made routinely available on the NHS in Wales for the first time, with Roche and NHS Wales agreeing the same commercial access scheme as has been agreed with NHS England.

Tuesday 20 June 2017      Campaigns and policy

The decision – which comes just five days after NHS England and NICE’s announcement (Thursday 15 June 2017) that the drug will be made routinely available in England – means that eligible patients in Wales, alongside those in England and Scotland, will now be able to access the drug on the NHS.

Kadcyla is a targeted treatment for patients with HER2 positive metastatic (secondary) breast cancer. It is a combination of a drug called Herceptin (trastuzumab) and a drug called emtansine (also known as DM1), and is usually given as a second-line treatment to those patients whose condition has progressed since they first received treatment for secondary breast cancer.

Kadcyla gives significant and precious extra time to women with incurable secondary breast cancer and has been shown to offer on average around six months of extended life compared to existing treatments. Kadcyla also has fewer side effects than other options, enabling women to spend more quality time with their families and loved ones.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said:

“It is fantastic to see the Welsh Government confirm so quickly that Kadcyla will be routinely available on the NHS in Wales for the first time. This very swift decision will now ensure that many women living with incurable HER2 positive breast cancer are given precious extra time to live.

“We want to congratulate and thank campaigners across Wales for their critical role in ensuring that this crucial lifeline drug is now routinely available to those that need it.

“Kadcyla offers women on average an extra six months of life compared to existing treatments – time that is totally invaluable to so many women and their families. We are delighted that patients in Wales will now – alongside those in England and Scotland – be able to access this drug routinely on the NHS.”

Kadcyla had been available in England through the Cancer Drugs Fund since 2014. However, following changes to the Fund, the drug was reappraised by NICE for routine use on the NHS in England going forward.

After Kadcyla’s provisional rejection by NICE on 29 December 2016, Breast Cancer Now launched an urgent petition to overturn this draft decision to both Sir Andrew Dillon, Chief Executive at NICE, and Richard Erwin, General Manager at Roche Products. In less than one month, the petition amassed over 115,000 signatures from across UK, and was delivered directly to NICE and Roche on 24 January 2017.

Following tough negotiation and flexibility by NICE and NHS England, and Roche’s willingness to compromise on price, it was announced last Thursday that a solution had been found to keep Kadcyla available in England. Today’s hugely welcome decision means this lifeline drug will now be routinely available to those that need it in Wales for the very first time.