Kadcyla for Breast Cancer March 2107

Thank you for contacting me recently about access to the breast cancer drug Kadcyla and the related campaign by Breast Cancer Now. I sympathise profoundly with anyone who has been affected by breast cancer. 

As you know, in December 2016 NICE decided that the price of Kadcyla was too high in relation to the benefits it gives for it to be recommended for routine commissioning in the NHS. I appreciate that this decision was deeply disappointing for many patients and their families. A related online petition has been signed by more than 115,000 people which demonstrates the strength of feeling on this issue. 

NICE held a meeting on Wednesday 1 February to consider the submissions to a consultation on its draft guidance and is expected to publish its final guidance in March. 

Kadcyla will continue to be available through the Cancer Drugs Fund while the NICE appraisal is ongoing. The introduction of the Cancer Drugs Fund has helped to bring life extending treatments to thousands of patients every year. There is no doubt that it has improved access to medicines and I welcome some of the historic issues relating to treatment access that it has helped to address. However, it was meant to be a temporary fix and is no longer sustainable. 

The current funding of drugs is becoming based on the cost-effectiveness of a drug, rather than the clinical need. I do not believe this should be the final deciding factor as it disregards very personal reasons for many people who rely upon drug treatments. I believe we need a top-to-bottom reform of NICE to ensure that drug acceptance and funding is determined solely by clinical need, not with cost or value considerations.

On Thursday 26 January the House of Commons held a debate on access to Kadcyla and other breast cancer drugs. I pay tribute to Breast Cancer Now for its work campaigning on this matter, along with Breast Cancer Care for its continued dedication and its support and advocacy for individuals with secondary breast cancer. 

Thank you once again for contacting me and for sharing your views.