17 JUN 2017

Delighted with approval of vital cancer drug

I welcome the approval of a life-extending cancer drug after lobbying the NHS over the issue.

Kadcyla adds an average of six months of life to women with terminal breast cancer – but at an undiscounted cost of £90,000 per patient.

The drug was available in Scotland from April, but deemed too expensive by the rest of the UK.

Earlier this year I met with local support group the Breast Cancer Girls of Deal, both in the constituency and in Westminster. They told me how important Kadcyla was for their members.

I lobbied Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, which on Thursday (June 15) announced a U-turn in favour of funding the drug.

I am delighted by the outcome and there is no doubt all the pressure we piled on made a great difference. So many people were involved in this campaign.

I heard first hand from these courageous women how it was literally handing them a lifeline.

Time is the most important thing we have. If treatments work and give us more of it, money should not be an obstacle.

Chantele Rashbrook, who runs the Breast Cancer Girls of Deal group, has secondary breast cancer and is being treated with Kadcyla.

She said: "I'm not going into my third year on it and it's reduced the tumour on my lung to pretty much nothing.

"A lot of women in our group could end up with secondary breast cancer. They would never have been given this chance without this decision.

"I'm so happy. It's just brilliant.

"Charlie was on the ball and got other MPs to raise the issue too, and we got to talk to senior people in pharmaceuticals personally.

"It's made a big difference."

1 comment

I read about this in the Guardian. With all due respect I got the impression that the drug was made available through Roche, the manufacturer, agreeing to reduce their prices, rather than any lobbying undertaken by yourself. It stated quite clearly that the agreement was reached between Roche and NHS England. Whilst I would not wish to detract from any influence you may believe you made, you need to acknowledge the help given by Roche. cc. Roche
- jonathan stiles

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Charlie Elphicke

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