Under its draft guidance, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) is planning to block a new cancer drug which can increase a breast cancer patient's life span by six months.
Nice said the draft is under public review at present. So at the moment, patients can use the drug by applying to their local NHS and to the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF).
AdvertisementAccording to Nice, drug Kadcyla, manufactured by Roche, can cost over £90,000 per patient and is not effective for its price.
Activists are urging the drug company to lower the price of the new breast cancer medicine. Nice chief executive Sir Andrew Dillon said, "We had hoped that Roche would have recognised the challenge the NHS faces. 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."
The drug is specially meant for women with HER2-receptor-positive cancer that has spread around the body. The drug kills cancerous cells from within. It is unlikely to cause side effects such as hair loss, noticed with many other types of chemotherapy.
General manager at Roche Products Jayson Dallas said, "Roche is extremely disappointed that Nice has failed to safeguard the interests of patients with this advanced stage of aggressive disease."
If the cost of the drug is not brought down, Kadcyla will be the third breast cancer drug made by Roche to be rejected by Nice due to its cost. And if the decision is finalised this year, patients in England will not be given the drug by the NHS.