Cancer charities and patients have urged health bosses to think again after they decided a life prolonging cancer drug is still too expensive to be routinely offered on the NHS.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has again recommended the breast cancer treatment Kadcyla, which costs £90,000 per patient “does not work well enough to justify its high cost”.
Research has shown the drug can extend the life of some breast cancer patients when compared to other treatments.
Charities say Kadcyla can extend life by on average nine months.
Bonnie Fox from Croydon was 37 when she was diagnosed with both primary and secondary cancer 18 months ago. Her son Barnaby was just four months old.
She told Sky News that while Herceptin is currently working for her, she feels cheated that she does not have the option of moving onto Kadcyla.
“This year we’ve had an amazing year, we’ve got married, me and my husband, and Kadcyla could give me plenty more of that, could give me, more family holidays with my child, more quality time.
“My goal is to see him get to school, Kadcyla could be the difference between seeing my child go to school, and that’s not something you could ever put a price on.”
Cancer charities have also urged NICE to think again.
Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said: “This disastrous decision is a huge setback for the treatment of advanced breast cancer. Kadcyla offers significant and precious extra time for women with incurable cancer in great need of hope, and we mustn’t let it slip away.”
In Scotland health authorities also decided that the drug did not offer enough value for money but the manufacturer Roche has pointed out that globally many countries have bought into their product.
Baroness Morgan added: “NICE and Roche’s inability to find a compromise is seeing secondary breast cancer patients left abandoned.
“Responsibility lies on both sides, and such reckless brinkmanship is unfortunately about to rip away one of the best breast cancer drugs in years from patients in desperate need of a lifeline.”
NICE has invited patients, charities and health professionals to submit their views as part of a consultation on Kadcyla ahead of a final decision next year.