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 The leading web portal for pharmacy resources, news, education and careers October 20, 2017
Pharmacy Choice - Pharmaceutical News - Breast cancer drug Kadcyla to remain on NHS after manufacturer lowers price - October 20, 2017

Pharmacy News Article

 11/4/15 - Breast cancer drug Kadcyla to remain on NHS after manufacturer lowers price

An expensive drug that could prolong the lives of women with advanced breast cancer by at least six months will remain on the list of medicines available on the NHS after the manufacturer agreed to lower the price.

Roche's Kadcyla was one of a number of drugs set to be dumped from the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) list of medicines that the government pays for because Nice, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, considers them not to be cost-effective.

Related: Health secretary urged to tear up patent on breast cancer drug

In the case of Kadcyla, cost was the only issue. Nice and NHS England accept that the drug works well and can extend women's lives significantly without severe side-effects. But Roche launched the drug at 90,000 per patient per year, which is nearly double the limit for Nice approval.

Roche would not divulge the details of the deal, which it said were commercially confidential. The original price, however, was 5,900 per month and patients tended to be on it for an average of 9.6 months, it said, bringing the real cost to the NHS down to around 60,000. The discount is likely to bring the cost close to the Nice threshold of 50,000 a year for an end-of-life drug.

According to Roche, 1,300 women could benefit from Kadcyla, which is for those with a form of breast cancer called Her2 positive, once the drug Herceptin ceases to work.

Other Roche drugs are still off the list, however. Avastin for cervical cancer stays but may not be used in colorectal (bowel) cancer or in triple negative breast cancer, because the evidence for its efficacy is still not considered convincing.

Altogether, seven drug uses that were under threat will go back on the CDF list but 18 are confirmed as not available on the NHS. Prof Peter Clark, chair of the Cancer Drugs Fund and an oncologist, said: We need to ensure we get the maximum benefit for patients from the fixed pot of money available, which is why we robustly assess the evidence on the effectiveness of these drugs alongside their cost.

In some cases the drugs we proposed to remove were the least effective on the CDF list and we could not continue to fund them. In others they were simply too expensive, so we are pleased the pharmaceutical companies worked with us, reducing their prices, ensuring these treatments remain available to patients.

Patients who are on any of the drugs that are dropped will continue to get them as long as they need them.

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