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NICE Rejects Use Of Breast Cancer Drug Perjeta On NHS

Expert Lawyers Believe Decision Will Negatively Impact Patients


Leading healthcare lawyers at Irwin Mitchell who have helped patients fight for access to vital breast cancer treatment in the past have said the decision by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to reject the use of Perjeta on the NHS will negatively impact the health of patients.


Commenting on the news, Yogi Amin, a specialist public lawyer at Irwin Mitchell who led the landmark case which helped breast cancer sufferers battle for Herceptin to be made available to patients, said it is was extremely concerning the decision had been made despite clinical trials indicating the drug’s ability to reduce the size of tumour.

Expert Opinion
“Assessing and ensuring that cancer patients receive access to essential medication is an incredibly difficult and emotive issue and unfortunately we have seen a number of cases where patients have been negatively affected by unfair restrictions or decisions made without proper consideration of the facts.

“There has been a great deal of hope around the positive effects of Perjeta among those suffering with breast cancer in the UK as trials last year indicated it had a significant positive impact in women with HER2-positive breast cancer prior to surgery.

“All breast cancer patients deserve to be able to access the very best treatment available to them and it can be devastating, both physical and emotionally, when access is denied.”
Yogi Amin, Partner

The breast cancer drug, which is also known as pertuzumab, had been shown to almost double the eradication of tumours in clinical trials and estimates suggested around 1,800 women in the UK could be helped by the drug if it was available on the NHS.


However, NICE said it was uncertain how the effects of the drug would benefit breast cancer patients in the longer-term.


Perjeta is licensed for use in combination with the current treatment Herceptin (trastuzumab) and chemotherapy for earlier-stage cancer.


The new guidance for NICE said there was a lack of long-term evidence comparing Perjeta with other treatments used before breast cancer surgery and that it was “very uncertain” about the extent to which the drug would cut the chances of cancer returning in patients.


Fifteen leading cancer charities have written to the Prime Minister in a bid to review the decision which they believe will mean fewer patients get access to drug, which is manufactured by Roche.


Expert Opinion
“We back the calls of the cancer charities that have written to the government in a bid to have this decision reviewed as we should not have a postcode lottery that makes the drug available for some, but not for others.”
Yogi Amin, Partner

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