Scotland approves breast cancer drug deemed 'too expensive' for England

Kadcyla is unlocked in Scotland

Yesterday, Scotland became the first part of the United Kingdom to approve the use of PrEP as HIV prevention, with the Scottish Medicines Consortium approving its use to prevent HIV. Some studies have contended that taking the pill would contribute to other high-risk behaviors since they believed they were protected from the deadly virus.

Danni Manzi, of Breast Cancer Care, said: "It is imperative that we avoid a completely unacceptable situation where, in future, people with incurable breast cancer in Scotland can access this life-extending drug but those in England cannot".

"PrEP provides opportunities to reinvigorate how people at higher risk of HIV exposure engage with testing and prevention opportunities, and it is a vital opportunity to make a real reduction in the number of new HIV transmissions". Taken once a day it can reduce the risk of HIV infection by 86%.

The drug Kadcyla can prolong a breast cancer sufferer's life by up to nine months.

HIV "pre-exposure prophylaxis" or PrEP will now be provided by the Scottish NHS and can be used as a vital tool - alongside condom use, regular testing and early treatment - to help bring an end to HIV transmission in Scotland.

In Scotland, there was a slight drop in HIV diagnosis a year ago, with 295 new infections in 2016 against an annual average prior to this of 359.

"We applaud the Scottish Medicines Consortium for acting on the overwhelming evidence for the clinical effectiveness of PrEP, and taking this bold step to tackling HIV in Scotland".

But some said that even the financial benefits of treating the disease at a population level makes ultimate sense.

'This decision now calls into question as to why NHS England cannot make PrEP available to all that need it and still insist on a three year trial.

The drug can give patients dying from an aggressive form of breast cancer extra months of life, with more than 13,000 women signing a petition calling for it to be made routinely available.

"Ixekizumab offers another treatment option to those patients who have not responded to previous therapies".

This was largely because of the drug costs - which would be up to £20m a year to treat everyone who could benefit.

The SMC though did not approve ticagrelor (Brilique) which may be combined with aspirin to prevent conditions like heart attacks or strokes that result from blood clots and hardening of the arteries.

Health watchdog, NICE, told Sky News that the final decision would be made by the summer.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said: "One of my first questions as an MSP was about whether PrEP will be adopted".

She said: "I'm delighted and excited, it's a fantastic decision today and am really looking forward to sharing it with my daughter and family".

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