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Terminal cancer sufferer condemns withdrawal of drug

A terminal cancer sufferer from Derbyshire has condemned the decision by the NHS drugs watchdog to withdraw the use of the drug Kadcyla to fight the disease on the grounds of cost.

The drug, which can add months to the life of women dying of breast cancer, costs £90,000 for a course of treatment.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said the drug was too expensive to recommend for widespread use in the health service.

Hayley Kalinins, from Borrowash, said: "How can they put a price on anybody's life?

"They do need to bring the cost of the drug down - that is obvious to everybody.

"It's been the miracle drug (for me). I've undergone four different types of chemotherapy before starting this drug.

"I've been on this drug for 18 weeks and experienced very minimal side effects from it, enabling me to have good family times with the four children."

Breast cancer drug decision 'an injustice'

The manufacturer of a breast cancer drug which has been deemed "too expensive" to be offered by the NHS has hit back at the decision.

Dr Jayson Dallas, general manager of Roche Products Limited, declared it "an incredible injustice."

Despite Roche offering a significant discount, we are once again disappointed that Nice has not shown any flexibility on access to Kadcyla.

Refusing patients access to this drug is an incredible injustice and tantamount to turning the clock back in cancer research and development. We plan to appeal this decision.

– Dr Jayson Dallas

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Breast cancer drug manufacturer 'could have done more'

The manufacturer of a breast cancer drug that offers a last hope to patients could have been "more flexible" to help make the drug affordable for the NHS, a health service boss said.

Sir Andrew Dillon, chief executive of the NHS financial watchdog Nice, which has ruled Kadcyla is too expensive for NHS use, said:

Although Roche proposed a discount to the full list price of Kadcyla, it made little difference to its value for money, leaving it well above the top of our specially extended range of cost effectiveness for cancer drugs.

We are really disappointed that Roche were not able to demonstrate more flexibility to help us make a positive recommendation. The company is well aware that we could not have recommend Kadcyla at the price it proposed.

– Sir Andrew Dillon

NHS won't offer 'last hope' breast cancer drug

NHS
The NHS financial watchdog, Nice, has decided Kadcyla is too expensive. Credit: PA

The NHS will not offer a drug that gives patients with advanced breast cancer a last hope because it is too expensive.

Women with HER2-positive breast cancer, which has spread to other parts of their body and has not responded to initial treatment, can see their lives extended by around six months by Kadcyla.

However, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has ruled that at around £90,000 per patient, the drug is too expensive to recommend for widespread use in the health service.

The NHS financial watchdog criticised Roche, who manufactures the drug, for not discounting the treatment further.

Roche said that is had offered to cut the price of the drug and will be appealing Nice's decision.

NHS staff encouraged to 'speak up'

NHS
Staff are being encouraged to share their experiences as part of a review of the reporting culture at the NHS. Credit: PA

A website has been launched to allow NHS staff to share their experiences of raising concerns about their workplaces.

freedomtospeakup.org.uk is part of an independent review into whistleblowing in the health service, run by Sir Robert Francis, QC.

Sir Robert, who led two inquiries into the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, where failures in standards of care were compounded by staff not speaking up, has urged NHS workers to contribute their views and experiences.

Read: 'Too many things have been swept under the carpet'

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Mid Staffs 'shows need for NHS whistleblowers'

The failures at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust show the "appalling consequences" of a culture where staff feel they can't raise concerns about patient care, the barrister who led the inquiry into the trust said.

Sir Robert Francis, QC, who is running a review into whistleblowing in the NHS and has launched a call for evidence said:

We need a culture where 'I need to report this' is the thought, foremost in the mind of any NHS worker that has concerns - a culture where concerns are listened to and acted upon.

The Mid Staffordshire Public Inquiry showed the appalling consequences for patients when there is a 'closed ranks' culture.

We need to hear from as many people in the NHS as possible, so we can learn more about what we need to do to support staff to raise concerns, and support the NHS to listen to them.

– Sir Robert Francis

Read: Nurses still 'fear repercussions' over whistleblowing

Extra 40,000 'to be admitted to hospital'

An extra 40,000 will be admitted to hospital for vital treatment after the Heath Secretary announced extra funding to help cut NHS waiting lists.

According to Jeremy Hunt, the extra £250 million will pay for:

  • Reduce long waits will see 100,000 treatments to people who have been waiting more than 18 weeks.
  • A casework review of every patient waiting over or close to 52 weeks, to ensure that they are treated as a priority and are not made to wait for an operation unless there are strong clinical reasons.
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