Breast cancer patients await ruling on Herceptin
Thursday 08 June 2006
Long-awaited recommendations on which women should receive the breast cancer drug Herceptin are to be issued tomorrow.
Thousands of patients who could benefit from the treatment are hoping that the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) will say all those with suitable early-stage breast cancer should be entitled to receive it on prescription.
But there are concerns that NHS trusts, which are already struggling with multimillion-pound deficits, will continue to restrict access to the drug, which costs £20,000 a year per patient. The Government says there will be no extra money to fund the Nice guidance on Herceptin and the cost must be found from existing budgets.
Dr Gill Morgan, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: "Without doubt, this will present a significant financial challenge to some organisations. The problem is that organisations have to plan their expenditure 18 months in advance and so when a drug is fast-tracked through the process - as this drug has been -it causes several difficulties.
"Trusts don't want to put too much money aside in case they end up in surplus with funds that could have gone to patient care but they have to make a guess because if they end up in deficit it is as bad and some other service has to be cut."
Roche, the maker of Herceptin, was granted a licence for its use in treating early-stage breast cancer by the European Medicines Agency last week.
The drug is already used in cases of advanced breast cancer but studies have shown that it can dramatically reduce the risk of the disease returning in women diagnosed at an earlier stage.
Women with early-stage disease have been forced to go to the High Court to seek the right to the treatment because NHS trusts have said the lack of a relevant licence meant they were under no obligation to provide it.
Under pressure from patients and ministers, Nice has fast-tracked assessment of the data on Herceptin for early breast cancer. More than 5,000 women a year diagnosed with early-stage, HER-2 positive breast cancer - an aggressive type - could benefit from Herceptin.
Life & Style blogs
Charlie Charlie Challenge: everyone on the internet thinks it’s a marketing stunt, but it probably isn’t
Not brushing your teeth can lead to dementia and heart disease
Insomnia could be cured with one simple therapy session, new study claims
What do the emojis on Snapchat mean?
Spanish restaurant El Celler de Can Roca reclaims top spot to be named world's best restaurant
- 1 Amber Peat: Body found in search for missing 13-year-old who ran away after argument with her parents
- 2 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 3 Gay teenager 'forced to have sex with his own mother' to 'cure' his homosexuality, campaigners in India say
- 4 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
- 5 Fifa corruption: Qatar says investigations are racist, anti-Arab and show 'ugly face' of countries who lost 2022 World Cup bid
Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: Whats the opportunity? A pro-act...
Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: Whats the opportunity? The small...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fabricator welder required for ...
£14564 - £15311 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Inbound Customer Service Adviso...