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Charity urges health officials to reverse decision against pioneering breast cancer drug

BCN said Nice's decision was a 'huge setback' for the treatment of advanced breast cancer Credit: PA

A cancer charity has urged health officials to reconsider a decision to keep a pioneering treatment for breast cancer from being routinely available on the NHS.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has rejected the drug Kadcyla - which costs more than £90,000 per patient - as too expensive.

Charity Breast Cancer Now (BCN) condemned Nice's recommendation, branding it a "disastrous decision" and a "huge setback" for the treatment of advanced breast cancer.

Data examined by Nice shows that people taking Kadcyla - also known as trastuzumab emtansine - may live up to nine months longer than those taking an alternative drug called lapatinib plus capecitabine.

But Professor Carole Longson, Nice's director of the centre for health technology evaluation, said the drugs price was "currently too high in relation to the benefits it gives for it to be recommended for routine commissioning in the NHS".

Nice's recommendation is only preliminary and the committee will meet again in February.

In the meantime, BCN has launched an online petition aimed at overturning the decision.

The charity also hopes pharmaceutical company Roche, which manufactures the drug, will offer a greater discount.

Nice is publishing its draft guidance, including its preliminary recommendation on Kadcyla, on Thursday, opening a consultation which runs until January 19.