Roche's Kadcyla to remain on UK's Cancer Drugs Fund

The NHS on Wednesday reinstated coverage of Roche's cancer therapy Kadcyla (trastuzumab emtansine) by the Cancer Drugs Fund after the drugmaker agreed to an undisclosed discount of drug's price. Kadcyla was one of a number of drugs that were previously scheduled to be dropped from coverage by the fund on the grounds of cost-effectiveness.

Roche UK managing director Richard Erwin remarked that the drugmaker "has worked tirelessly with NHS England to ensure that patients with advanced HER2 positive breast cancer will continue to have access to Kadcyla through the [Cancer Drugs Fund]." Erwin continued "this must be the last time that patients are subjected to the uncertainty of cancer drug delistings," adding "moving forward it is imperative that we all come together to build a pragmatic, flexible and sustainable system for assessing medicines that prioritises clinical value."

Roche CEO Severin Schwan has criticised the decision to remove Kadcyla, as well as Avastin (bevacizumab), from coverage by the Cancer Drugs Fund, calling the move "completely arbitrary." The NHS restored coverage of Avastin by the fund only for cervical cancer, while Roche stated that based on the cost-effectiveness thresholds imposed by the agency, Avastin would not have been considered cost-effective for the treatment of breast cancer and colorectal cancer at any price.

Paul Workman, CEO of the Institute of Cancer Research, London, commented "it's great news that some drugs that we thought could be lost from the Cancer Drugs Fund are going to remain available for patients – and at a more affordable cost to the NHS," continuing "most of all, today's announcement highlights the need for a unified, long-term and sustainable system of drug evaluation…we need clarity where there is currently confusion."

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