SNP MSP Christina McKelvie urges people across Hamilton, Larkall and Stonehouse to support Breast Cancer Now’s Perjeta Now campaign
Christina McKelvie, MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse is backing Breast Cancer Now’s campaign to ensure the “life-changing” breast cancer drug Perjeta is made available to women in Scotland.
Christina 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 agree a deal to finally 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 over four years, Perjeta has been rejected three times in a row by medicines approval body the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) as it is not considered cost-effective.
Following a meeting at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday between patients, MSPs, the Scottish Government and Roche, it was announced that the drug company intends to make a new application to the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC), for Perjeta to be considered for NHS use in Scotland.
In light of this progress, Christina McKelvie MSP has today urged constituents across her constituency to sign the charity’s petition calling for a long-awaited solution on Perjeta to be found as soon as possible.
Commenting, SNP MSP Christina McKelvie 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 that 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.
“Whilst the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) are independent of the Scottish Government and I do not wish to prejudice their decision, I am greatly encouraged that Roche will be submitting a new application to have Perjeta considered for use by NHS Scotland.
“That’s why I’m supporting Breast Cancer Now’s campaign to make this drug available to women in Scotland. I want to urge people across my constituency and across the whole of Scotland to join me and sign the petition.
“It only takes a few minutes but you could change the lives of women, and their families, living with secondary breast cancer in Scotland.”
Lawrence Cowan, Scotland Manager, Breast Cancer Now said:
“We are delighted to have the backing of Christina McKelvie MSP for our Perjeta Now campaign and we hope that people throughout her Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse constituency will sign the petition.
“The news that Roche are to re-submit Perjeta to the SMC is a promising step in the right direction. But we need to keep the pressure up to ensure everyone works together to agree a deal quickly.
“It’s time to end this injustice and put patients’ lives first. Women with incurable secondary breast cancer don’t have time to lose. Women in Scotland need Perjeta now.”
Jen Hardy, 50, is from Edinburgh and has HER2-positive secondary breast cancer. She was unable to access Perjeta and is campaigning with Breast Cancer Now to make it available in Scotland. Reacting to the news that Roche are to re-submit the drug to the SMC, she said:
“This is a really positive development that shows that both sides are listening to women with secondary breast cancer in Scotland. But we’ve still got some way to go to make this drug available on Scotland’s NHS.
“Women in Scotland need this drug. I have lost out on 16 months of precious extra time with my beautiful family because I’ve been denied Perjeta. With every moment that goes by more women are missing out.
“The drug company, the Scottish Government and the SMC need to keep working together to make Perjeta available on Scotland’s NHS.
“It’s time to end this injustice.”