LONDON, June 15 A Roche breast cancer
drug at the centre of a prolonged pricing row in Britain will
now be paid for routinely, following a discount deal between the
company and the National Health Service, the country's cost
watchdog said on Thursday.
Kadcyla, which can prolong the lives of some women with
advanced disease, has been a battle-ground for campaigners
wanting better access to modern cancer drugs, with 115,000
people signing a petition demanding its availability.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)
said it could now recommend funding for Kadcyla, following the
new commercial access arrangement with Roche. Details of the
discount offer were not disclosed.
At its full list price, Kadcyla costs about 90,000 pounds
($115,000) per patient, according to NICE, although Roche says
this figure is exaggerated because the drug is typically given
for shorter periods than NICE assumes.
Until now, the drug has only been covered by the Cancer
Drugs Fund, which finances drugs not routinely paid for on the
NHS. With the medicine moving to routine use, NICE estimates
around 1,200 women could now be eligible to receive it.
Roche, the world's biggest supplier of cancer medicines, has
expressed frustration in the past at the rigid system used in
Britain to determine value for money in cancer care, with CEO
Severin Schwan describing the system as "stupid" in 2015.
Industry critics, however, argue that medicine prices are
rising far faster than inflation, especially in cancer
treatment, and returns demanded by the industry on newly
launched products are unsustainable.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Adrian Croft)