Outrage as cost leads to cancer drug ban

This Is Wiltshire: Breast cancer survior Tracey Kidman-Pepper Breast cancer survior Tracey Kidman-Pepper

THE decision to turn down a “wonder” breast cancer drug, which can extend life by nearly six months, because of its cost has been questioned by campaigners and survivors alike in Swindon.

In its draft guidance The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence said Kadcyla, medication priced at £90,000 a patient, is not effective enough to justify the expense.

It is the eighth consecutive drug for advanced breast cancer to be blocked by the NHS rationing body NICE.

While the drug gave patients an average of 5.8 extra months of life, it was six times more expensive than drugs normally approved for use on the NHS.

Although not a cure, Kadcyla, a drug produced by Roche, had allowed unprecedented advances in the treatment of HER 2-positive secondary breast cancer.

Trialling medication too costly to be sustainable was condemned by breast cancer survivor Tracey Kidman-Pepper, who also questioned the drug’s pricing.

“You would be absolutely devastated if you knew something could prolong your life was going to be taken away,” said the 40-year-old, from Marlborough Road.

“I just don’t understand how this drug can cost that much. What are the margins on it? It’s ludicrous.

“There is something fundamentally wrong about introducing drugs you know nobody can afford. It should not be happening in the UK.

“And I don’t understand the logic in any of this. They knew this was going to cost £90,000 and didn’t do the maths. More questions should be asked about why this has happened.”

Kadcyla was funded through the Cancer Drugs Fund set up by the Government.

NICE chief executive Sir Andrew Dillon said the body had hoped Roche would lower the cost of the drug in the long term.

“We had hoped that Roche would have recognised the challenge the NHS faces in managing the adoption of expensive new treatments by reducing the cost of Kadcyla to the NHS,” he said. “We apply as much flexibility as we can in approving new treatments, but the reality is that given its price and what it offers to patients, it will displace more health benefit which the NHS could achieve in other ways, than it will offer to patients with breast cancer.”

Although keen to ensure that not all NHS funds are allocated to a minority of cancer patients, Beryl Bowles, the founder of support group Affected by Cancer in Swindon, said pulling the drug was far worse than not introducing it in the first place.

“It’s a tremendous amount of money to put into one person and spending that much would affect thousands of others with different types of cancer,” she said.

“It would have been better if they had just decided at an early stage that it was too expensive. “They must have known it was going to be. “It’s raising and dashing hopes. Patients have got no hope of getting it now.

“It’s upsetting and depressing for the ladies it might have helped.”

Comments (3)

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10:16am Sat 26 Apr 14

Robh says...

Unfortunately Life has a value to these people. £90,000 is considered to be too much for 1 in 5 women to live an extra 6 months.

I don't want to comment either way because it is difficult to argue without having experience of the being in that situation. What I do say though is why have Roche made this wonder drug available at such a cost with the profits they already make on other drugs.
Unfortunately Life has a value to these people. £90,000 is considered to be too much for 1 in 5 women to live an extra 6 months. I don't want to comment either way because it is difficult to argue without having experience of the being in that situation. What I do say though is why have Roche made this wonder drug available at such a cost with the profits they already make on other drugs. Robh
  • Score: 0

11:20am Sat 26 Apr 14

trustnopolitician says...

Roche are playing "God" -but how about the government not spending as much on other less important areas like subsidising MP's meals in parliament and once and for all have a sensible approach ro expenses and allowances.

One Salary at say 70K and all other expenses to be detailed and verified by receipts and published monthly in the constituency which they represent.

This action might not provde all the funds needed for this drug but at least it would be a start .

e.g. a reduction in the costs of MP's of 500 p.a would generate enough for 3 treatments - do you think MP's would do this willingly?

As a taxpayer I would much rather cash was put to expensive treatments than spent on taxpayer paid political consultants.
Roche are playing "God" -but how about the government not spending as much on other less important areas like subsidising MP's meals in parliament and once and for all have a sensible approach ro expenses and allowances. One Salary at say 70K and all other expenses to be detailed and verified by receipts and published monthly in the constituency which they represent. This action might not provde all the funds needed for this drug but at least it would be a start . e.g. a reduction in the costs of MP's of 500 p.a would generate enough for 3 treatments - do you think MP's would do this willingly? As a taxpayer I would much rather cash was put to expensive treatments than spent on taxpayer paid political consultants. trustnopolitician
  • Score: 2

9:03pm Sun 27 Apr 14

house on the hill says...

Robh wrote:
Unfortunately Life has a value to these people. £90,000 is considered to be too much for 1 in 5 women to live an extra 6 months.

I don't want to comment either way because it is difficult to argue without having experience of the being in that situation. What I do say though is why have Roche made this wonder drug available at such a cost with the profits they already make on other drugs.
It is a very difficult situation all round. As you say from most it would be a no brainer, but the NHS only has a finite amount of money, so you give to one area you have to take from another. And the same for your comments on Roche, how can one be subsidised and others not, maybe of you were suffering from something else that was having to be cut to pay for it you would feel differently.

A very difficult problem that everyone hopes will be resolved, but also reality has to come into the equation too
[quote][p][bold]Robh[/bold] wrote: Unfortunately Life has a value to these people. £90,000 is considered to be too much for 1 in 5 women to live an extra 6 months. I don't want to comment either way because it is difficult to argue without having experience of the being in that situation. What I do say though is why have Roche made this wonder drug available at such a cost with the profits they already make on other drugs.[/p][/quote]It is a very difficult situation all round. As you say from most it would be a no brainer, but the NHS only has a finite amount of money, so you give to one area you have to take from another. And the same for your comments on Roche, how can one be subsidised and others not, maybe of you were suffering from something else that was having to be cut to pay for it you would feel differently. A very difficult problem that everyone hopes will be resolved, but also reality has to come into the equation too house on the hill
  • Score: 0

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