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Women with breast cancer should have access to life-prolonging drug – MP

MPs call on NICE to approve use of breast cancer drug Kadcyla.
Kadcyla bottle

MPs have called on the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to rethink a decision that could stop women with breast cancer from getting a life-prolonging drug.

NICE published final draft guidance last year stating that the drug Kadcyla, which can give women dying from an aggressive form of breast cancer extra months of life, was not affordable. It is due to be removed from the NHS in June and Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh led a backbench debate in the House of Commons on 26 January describing the move as nothing short of a tragedy.

She said: Kadcyla matters so much to all these women for one simple reason it works.

Womens stories

Ms McDonagh read out personal stories of friends with breast cancer who had benefited from

MPs have called on the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to rethink a decision that could stop women with breast cancer from getting a life-prolonging drug.


NICE says the NHS cannot afford to prescribe Kadcyla  Photo: SPL

NICE published final draft guidance last year stating that the drug Kadcyla, which can give women dying from an aggressive form of breast cancer extra months of life, was not affordable. It is due to be removed from the NHS in June and Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh led a backbench debate in the House of Commons on 26 January describing the move as ‘nothing short of a tragedy’.

She said: ‘Kadcyla matters so much to all these women for one simple reason – it works.’

Women’s stories

Ms McDonagh read out personal stories of friends with breast cancer who had benefited from Kadcyla, as they looked on from the public gallery.

‘We are seeing effective treatment after effective treatment being rejected or facing rejection from NICE,’ she added.

A petition against the changes, set up by Bonnie Fox, who has incurable breast cancer, has been signed by more than 115,000 people. Ms Fox was among those watching the debate. 

Conservative MP Iain Stewart told the debate that the drug’s manufacturer Roche, had told him it was willing to negotiate with NICE.

Political independence

Health minister Nicola Blackwood said it is right that decisions be made independently by NICE and not politicians.

‘Decisions must be clinically led and made on the basis of the best available evidence, and be frequently reviewed when new evidence comes forward,’ she added.

‘That is why it is right for NICE to play this role in providing independent, evidence-based guidance for the NHS on whether significant new drugs represent a clinically and cost-effective use of NHS resources.’

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