Breast cancer drug approved for secondary stages in Scotland at fourth attempt

Written by Tom Freeman on 15 January 2019 in News

Breast cancer drug Perjeta approved for latter-stages patients after years of campaigns to make it available in Scotland

Cancer cells - fotolia

A treatment for the advanced stages of breast cancer has been approved for use in Scotland by the Scottish Medicine Consortium (SMC).

The drug Perjeta had previously been rejected by the evaluation body three times on cost grounds, but patients and clinicians have argued that the treatment can extend lives in those with aggressive cancer.

The drug was approved for some women with early-stage breast cancer in December.

Then Perjeta was reviewed by the SMC’s patient and clinician engagement process (PACE), which found it could help younger women with terminal cancer live longer.

SMC Chairman Dr Alan MacDonald said: “We know from the testimonies given through our PACE process how devastating this condition is for patients and their families, and we hope this decision, which offers the opportunity of extra time when the patient feels well, will be welcomed by them.”  

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “This decision could extend the lives of women with incurable cancer and make a real difference to their families.

 “This follows the announcement in December, that it was also approved for women with early-stage breast cancer and means even more women will be able to benefit from this treatment.”

Labour Health spokesperson Monica Lennon said: “This is fantastic news and tribute to the hard work of campaigners who made the case for Perjeta on our NHS. This medicine will have a potentially life changing effect for women and their families across Scotland.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “I am over the moon that the SMC has today made life-extending drug Perjeta available through NHS Scotland.

“This is a great victory for campaigners and will be a huge boost to patients with breast cancer.”

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