An online petition calls on the drug company Roche to lower the price of its breast cancer drug Kadcyla (trastuzumab emtansine) to make it cheap enough to be made available on the NHS.
Almost 29,000 people have signed the petition, launched by breast cancer survivor Margaret Connolly whose niece Helen Mulhearn died from the disease.
The drug’s full list price of £90,000 per patient was deemed prohibitive by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). It made a draft decision in August 2014 not to make the drug available on the NHS on the grounds of cost. NICE said the cost would need to be cut by 60% to make it viable.
Trastuzumab emtansine targets breast cancer in two ways — by blocking cancer cell growth and destroying cells from within after penetrating their surface. There is evidence of patient benefit in terms of avoidance of side effects and extension of life. Although not available on the NHS, it can be accessed in England through the Cancer Drugs Fund.