CHARITY Breast Cancer Now has launched a petition calling on a pharmaceutical company to provide free-of-charge access to exciting new treatment Trodelvy (sacituzumab govitecan) for eligible patients with triple-negative incurable secondary breast cancer – once the drug is licensed and ahead of a decision being made around its routine use on the NHS next year.
In England alone, hundreds of women who are living with this life-limiting disease could face the prospect of being denied the chance of Trodelvy potentially bringing them precious extra time with their loved ones due to the delay between licensing of the drug – expected in the coming months – and a decision being made (2022) on it being made routinely available on the NHS.
It is unknown how many people have secondary breast cancer (cancer that has spread to another part of the body). However, estimates suggest 35,000 people in the UK live with this devastating incurable disease and the fear and uncertainty around when it will cut their lives short. Those with triple-negative secondary breast cancer can face shorter prognoses and fewer treatment options, but Trodelvy could offer them hope of extra months with loved ones and to do things that matter most to them.
Breast Cancer Now has raised with Gilead and NHS England the vital need to grant interim access to Trodelvy, as soon as the drug is licensed, to guarantee that it quickly reaches these women who desperately need it and don’t have time to wait. Now urgent action is needed.
The charity cites a recent interim access agreement made for the first Project Orbis drug, a lung cancer drug, to be available on the NHS for patients and calls on Gilead to follow suit by working with NHS England and providing Trodelvy free-of-charge on the NHS on a short-term basis.
Breast Cancer Now’s newly launched ‘It’s Time for Trodelvy’ petition seeks to secure this life-changing early access for patients.
Beth Coppin, 37, from Kent, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 while pregnant with her second son, and a year and a half later were given the news that she had triple-negative incurable secondary breast cancer. She says:
“I have had various chemotherapy drugs to control my cancer. Each treatment has worked for a short time, but then my cancer adapts. Once the drug I am on now stops working, there is nothing new to try. I desperately need access to Trodelvy now to extend my life; otherwise, I may well die before the end of the summer holidays. My boys are five and six years old. Trodelvy could give me up to six extra months with them, and I would be grateful for every moment.”
Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said:
“Trodelvy offers some women living with triple-negative secondary breast cancer the life-changing chance of extra months with friends and family and to be here for more moments that matter. It’s a tragic state of affairs that women already facing limited treatment options could be denied the hope of potentially benefitting from this promising drug if Gilead does not provide Trodelvy free-of-charge.
“These women, who are already facing heartbreakingly short prognoses, do not have time to wait for the treatments they so desperately need. That’s why we are launching a petition today that urgently calls on Gilead to provide Trodelvy free of charge until it is assessed for routine use on the NHS. They must do the right thing and agree with NHS England to allow this to happen.
“We know the impact of uniting to call for the right thing for breast cancer patients, and this is why we are calling on people to sign our petition now, to help us start to turn the tide on triple-negative secondary breast cancer.”
Gilead and NHS decision-makers in the devolved nations will also need to guarantee that patients in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have equal access to Trodelvy following licensing so that eligible patients across the UK have the chance to benefit from this drug potentially. Breast Cancer Now also want to see the MHRA, NICE and NHS England working together with stakeholders to deliver an integrated, timely approach for NHS patients to access treatments licensed through Project Orbis, the new route introduced in January.
Sign Breast Cancer Now’s ‘It’s Time for Trodelvy’ petition now: breastcancernow.org/trodelvy.