Breast cancer drug Kadcyla “too expensive” for routine use on the NHS

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published final draft guidance on the use of Kadcyla as a treatment for a type of advanced breast cancer.

Kadcyla – is licensed to treat HER2-positive breast cancer which has – spread to other parts of the body – cannot be surgically removed and – has stopped responding to initial treatment. The drug has been found to add about six months of life to women with incurable disease.

However, the cost for the drug is £90,000 per patient at its full list price. NICE has previously stated that this is simply too expensive to fund on a routine basis in the NHS.

The manufacturer of Kadcyla, Roche, recently agreed a significant price discount with NHS England to stop the drug being removed from the Cancer Drugs Fund.

Unfortunately, although Roche has offered some discount to NICE, this is a smaller discount than that offered to NHS England. NICE’s independent Appraisal Committee found that Roche had not reduced the price enough to make it cost-effective for routine use on the NHS.

Sir Andrew Dillon, NICE Chief Executive, said:

We recognise that Kadcyla has a place in treating some patients with advanced breast cancer and we have been as flexible as we can in making our recommendation. However, the price that the manufacturer is asking the NHS to pay in the long-term is too high.”

The NICE draft guidance is now subject to an appeal process whereby consultees can appeal against the recommendation, subject to certain criteria.

Following implementation of the Guidelines Kadcyla will continue to be available to some patients in England through the Cancer Drugs Fund. However, it will not be available to patients in Wales or Scotland who are not covered by the Cancer Drugs Fund.

This news comes in light of the figures published back in July 2015 which showed a 5.5% increase in breast cancer rates in the UK since 2004.

Dr Caitlin Barrand, Assistant Director of Policy & Campaigns at Breast Cancer Now, said:

This is hugely disappointing news…We simply cannot continue in this way, with highly effective new cancer drugs being held just out of reach for patients in certain areas of the UK….People living with incurable cancer don’t have time to lose, and a fairer, more flexible system that enables access to the best treatments available on a routine, UK-wide basis is long overdue.”

Clarke Willmott has significant experience representing sufferers of cancer who have been the victim of medical negligence during their treatment. This is often as a result of delays in diagnosis or treatment of cancer.

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