NICE’s Kadcyla Guidance ‘Another Difficult Decision On Drug Access’

Public Lawyers React To Concerns Regarding Availability Of Treatment


Specialist public lawyers have said the news that breast cancer drug Kadcyla will not be offered routinely on the NHS in England and Wales due to its cost is another example of the difficult decisions which have to be made in terms of access to drugs.

Draft guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence have stated that while the drug will be available through the Cancer Drugs Fund, wider access would not be possible due to its price.

NICE also went on to criticise manufacturer Roche regarding the affordability of the drug, which is known to extend the lives of breast cancer sufferers in some cases by up to six months.

Responding to the news, the charity Breast Cancer Now said a “flexible system” to ensure UK-wide access to drugs was “long overdue”.

Irwin Mitchell’s specialist Public Law team provide advice and support to those affected by social and healthcare decisions, including issues related to access to drugs.

Expert Opinion
“This news is another example of the tough decisions that often need to be made in relation to the availability of drugs.

“NICE undoubtedly carries out a vital role in the process and its views on this matter are clearly disappointing, with the general opinion being that that cost of this drug has priced the NHS out of offering it widely.

“It is of course vital that patients are able to access the medication they require in a timely manner and if they cannot, they deserve the ability to challenge their NHS trust to access the vital drugs and health treatments they need.

“We have seen numerous cases related to this in the past, including helping women who sought access to the breast cancer drug Herceptin. From this, we have seen how incredibly difficult and emotional it can be for patients who must fight to get access to vital care.”
Yogi Amin, Partner