Access to a life extending NHS standard of care Drug - Herceptin

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My wife who is 52 has Stage IV breast Cancer that is Her2+. The cancer has spread to her lungs, but over the past six years the cancer has been contained, controlled  and managed with some amazing drugs and several different lines of chemotherapy treatment. This coupled with great NHS patient care. She has also been on a Trial which recently stopped working through minor progression, this after eight months. Jennifer needs a special Her2+ directed therapy drug called trastuzumab (Herceptin), this helps the chemotherapy work much better. (Lapatinib & Neratinib do a similar job). She has pretty much been on this drug 'Herceptin' throughout her difficult six year treatment journey. (It’s been really tough). Herceptin (Over 20 years in use) works really well. It is also a standard of care drug within the NHS for patients with Her2+ cancer. Her current Oncologist from the start (Top Guy) who has over 35 years Oncology experience now wants to continue to administer her the Herceptin drug. He believes Herceptin access is so critical to her survival for longer but is being denied funded access by NHS England. We will now personally have to pay for it, it is over £1000 per month.This is because Jen has had more than two different lines of treatment using Herceptin over the past six years, which is current policy. Without Herceptin or one of the other two non-funded Her2+ directed therapy drugs available in the market, Jenny would probably not be here today. BUT without the drugs Jens cancer is likely to spread further and grow much faster, thus definitely shortening her life. It appears from her Oncologist that there are 1000s of women across the UK in a similar position, also being denied access to ongoing treatment with this critical drug Herceptin. There are now also three biosimilar options of trastuzumab (Herceptin) that are now more cost effective for the NHS, this given the patent/license on Herceptin by Roche has ended. We need an immediate policy review and change to allow ongoing access to this life extending drug to patients, even if patients have had more than two lines of treatment. Herceptin (or the others) must be made available on an ongoing basis for Her2+ breast Cancer patients. It is such a critical drug in extending the patients life. There are two other specific Her2+ target therapy drugs also not available through the NHS, they will also work well for patients similar to Jen. I have written to John Stewart Director specialised commissioning NHS England who has refused to act. We need immediate action, review and change, for all. The data is there to make change happen. Jennifer works so hard everyday to stay alive. Many Thanks for your amazing support. Colin & Jennifer



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