18th June 2017

New Breast Cancer Drug Approved For NHS Use

New Breast Cancer Drug Approved For NHS Use


On 15th June 2017, Simon Stevens, the Chief Executive of NHS England has announced that NHS England has struck a deal with Roche to make the breast cancer drug ‘Kadcyla’ available for routine use on the National Health Service (NHS).

In 2015, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) rejected the drug, Kadcyla, on cost grounds. At that time the Charities and campaigners reacted with huge disappointment. But now, a deal has been struck between NHS England and manufacturer Roche, backed by NICE, to make the drug available to around 1,200 women per year in England.

Kadcyla is a new drug that can extend the lives of women with advanced breast cancer. The drug is for those with HER2-positive breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and cannot be removed through surgery. Kadcyla, also named T-DM1, combines Herceptin with a potent chemotherapy agent. It works by attaching itself to the HER2 receptor on cancer cells, blocking signals that encourage the cancer to grow and spread.

In clinical experiments, Kadcyla, which normally costs £90,000 per patient, was shown to extend the lives of people with terminal cancer by an average of 6 months. It also dramatically improves quality of life, compared with other treatments, and reduces side effects.

Speaking at the NHS Confederation conference in Liverpool, NHS chief said that the NHS cancer survival rates are now at record highs, and this year NHS is going to make major upgrades to modern radiotherapy treatments in every part of England.

He further added that NHS England is also taking practical action to drive greater value from taxpayers growing investment in modern drug treatments, and that work is beginning to bear fruit.

The teamwork between NICE, NHS England and Roche has resulted in NICE recommending Kadcyla as a cost effective treatment. This step shows a positive example of how solutions can be reached when all parties show flexibility, stated the General Manager of Roche, Richard Erwin.

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