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Posted on 3rd February 2017

Breast cancer drug too expensive for NHS

A drug that has been called one of the most important advances in breast cancer treatment in 20 years will not be offered on the NHS.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence says that the drug is too expensive and will not be recommended for routine funding.

The drug, palbociclib, is made by Pfizer and experts are urging the drug company to lower the price.

Nicholas Turner is a molecular oncologist in London and on the clinical expert on the NICE panel has told the times that despite palbociclib being one of the most important advances in breast cancer treatment, the cost of the drug is a limiting factor.

Despite the pressures from experts, Pfizer said that NICE’s own appraisal methods for cancer treatment needs to be updated. 

Studies into the drug have found that it could double the amount of time a patient’s cancer remained the same, and did not worsen, up to 24.8 months.

Director of Breast Cancer Care, David Crosby, said that the decision to provide the £80,000 drug to patients was infuriating.

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