Breast cancer drug that prolongs women’s lives in Portsmouth ‘is too expensive’

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A drug used to prolong the life of women with breast cancer in Portsmouth has been deemed too expensive for the NHS.

Now trastuzumab emtansine is expected to be discontinued despite successful trials at the Queen Alexandra Hospital.

NHS drugs watchdog NICE says the treatment price of £90,000 for the drug - manufactured by Roche under the brand name Kadcyla - is unjustifiable and the use of it through the NHS could end in 2016.

Dr Caitlin Palframan, from the charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer, is calling for Roche to lower the price of trastuzumab emtansine.

The drug can add months to the life of women dying from breast cancer Dr Palframan also urgedNICE to reconsider its decision.

She said: ‘Kadcyla can offer women with breast cancer an extra six months to a year with their family so we really want to be able to offer this to them.

‘We are now looking to the Department of Health and the pharmaceutical industry to find a way to work together to bring the cost of expensive drugs down.

‘And also put a sustainable system in place by which new treatments can be made available on the NHS on a routine basis.’

The charity estimates around 1,500 women in Britain could benefit from Kadcyla every year.