MSP backs call for life-extending cancer drug

Left to right, Lawrence Cowan {Scotland Manager for Breast Cancer Now), Jen Hardy (Perjeta Now campaigner) and Donald Cameron MSP.

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‘Women in Scotland should be able to access the life-extending breast cancer drug Perjeta like women can in England and Wales’, Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron has argued in Holyrood.

The campaign to make the drug available in NHS Scotland has been driven by the charity Breast Cancer Now Scotland.

Donald Cameron MSP joined secondary breast cancer patient and Perjeta Now campaigner Jen Hardy at Holyrood to support the charity’s petition calling for the manufacturer Roche, the Scottish Government and the Scottish Medicines Consortium to work together to make Perjeta routinely available on the NHS in Scotland.

Perjeta, taken in combination with Herceptin (trastuzumab) and docetaxel, a chemotherapy drug, is a first-line treatment for patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer.

It gives patients with incurable breast cancer nearly 16 additional months of good-quality life, on average, compared to the alternative treatment option of trastuzumab and docetaxel alone.

While it has been the standard of care in England for more than four years, Perjeta has been rejected three times by medicines approval body the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) as it is not considered cost-effective.

Following a meeting at the Scottish Parliament between patients, MSPs, the Scottish Government and Roche, it was announced the drug company intends to make a new application to the (SMC) for Perjeta to be considered for NHS use in Scotland.

Mr Cameron said: ‘It is a travesty that women with incurable breast cancer living in Scotland are still missing out on a life-changing drug that is now routinely available in other parts of the UK.

‘The precious extra time Perjeta offers could mean the world to patients. It’s the hope of being able to see their children grow older or spending another Christmas with their loved ones.

‘That’s why I’m supporting Breast Cancer Now’s campaign to make this drug available to women in Scotland and would encourage local people to do the same.’