There was huge relief when it was announced on Wednesday that agreement had been reached for Kadcyla to remain available for new patients through the Cancer Drug Fund. It was also widely acknowledged that the charity Breast Cancer Now and the people who had signed the Kadcyla petition had played a significant part in this decision.
But the work doesn’t stop there. Today, Friday 6 November, there will be a second reading in the House of Commons of a bill for the re-purposing of drugs so that they can be used for cost-effective treatments which are different from the ones for which they were originally licensed. As ever, the issues are complex, but an article in the Daily Telegraph online sets out the position very succinctly and is well worth reading.
I just hope this bill gets the backing it deserves. After all, it’s Friday, and many MPs will be heading off for a weekend in their constituencies rather than sitting in the House…and no, I’m not being cynical. A similar off-patent drugs bill was introduced in 2014, and, on Friday 7 November 2014 it was “stood over” (presumably parliamentary jargon for abandoned) at its second reading because fewer than 40 MPs were in attendance. I leave you to draw your own conclusions.