Breast Cancer Drug Withdrawn In England Approved For Use In NHS In Scotland

A breast cancer drug which is being withdrawn in England because of its cost will be made available on the NHS in Scotland.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC), the body which approves drugs for use by the health service, had made a ''good decision'' in permitting Kadcyla.

The drug can give patients dying from an aggressive form of breast cancer extra months of life, with more than 13,000 women signing a petition calling for it to be made routinely available.

More than 4,600 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Scotland each year, with the disease responsible for about 1,000 deaths annually.

Up to 118 women each year could now benefit from Kadcyla, according to health campaigners at Breast Cancer Now.

Ms Robison said: ''I know that there will be many patients who will be pleased and will benefit from Kadcyla now being available through the NHS and I've certainly met a number of women who have been on Kadcyla and who have wanted to be on Kadcyla, and now this approval has been made the clinical decisions of who will be appropriate will mean that many women will benefit.

''I think around 100 women will benefit a year, and that's good news.''

The SMC's decision comes after the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) in England published final draft guidance late last year saying Kadcyla is not set at an affordable price.

The drug will be removed from the NHS south of the border in June - a decision which has prompted a fierce backlash from breast cancer patients and campaign groups.

The SMC decision was announced on the day Ms Robison declared Scotland is ''one of the top nations in the world for accessing new medicines for cancer''.

SMC chairman Dr Alan MacDonald said the drug - also known as trastuzumab emtansine - had been approved after its manufacturers offered a discount in the cost.

He said: ''I am pleased we were able to accept these new medicines for routine use in NHS Scotland. From the valuable testimonies given by patient groups and clinicians at our meeting, we know that trastuzumab emtansine will be welcomed by patients and their families for the treatment of breast cancer.

''We were able to accept trastuzumab emtansine on resubmission because the company offered an improved Patient Access Scheme (PAS), a confidential discount that improves the cost effectiveness of a medicine.''

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