Petition Urges Pharmaceutical Giant to Lower the Price of Breast Cancer Drug

Petition Urges Pharmaceutical Giant to Lower the Price of Breast Cancer Drug

Roche Pharmaceuticals has priced its revolutionary new drug at £90,000, which the UK and Scotland have deemed too expensive to cover

UNITED KINGDOM  — Nearly 30,000 people have signed a Care2 petition started by a breast cancer survivor asking Roche pharmaceuticals to lower the price of its new drug Kadcyla, which adds an average of six months to the lives of women with inoperable breast cancer. Currently, the drug costs £90,000 and is not eligible for coverage by the United Kingdom or Scotland's National Health Service (NHS).


The Care2 petition was started by breast cancer survivor and UK resident Margaret Connolly. She was diagnosed with a standard form of breast cancer early and was able to treat it affordably.

But back in 2000, her niece Helen Mulhearn was not so lucky. When Mulhearn found a lump in her breast, doctors initially dismissed it. By the time it was discovered to be cancer, it was too late to extend her life.

"It traumatised her, the thought of leaving her wee boy as he was so young," says Connolly. "She would have had her legs chopped off to have a few more weeks with him. She told me this."

After Mulhearn's death, Connolly says she'll never forget what Mulhearn's 5-year-old son Sean, now 19, said when asked what he wanted for Christmas: "Just one thing, Auntie Margaret. Five minutes with my mummy."

Fast forward to 2014. When Connolly saw the news about Kadcyla, she thought of Mulhearn. Sean prompted her to start her Care2 petition in the hope that other people suffering from the disease will have access to affordable treatment—and a longer life.

The drug is currently the most expensive cancer drug ever introduced in the UK. England's drug approval organization, NICE, generally approves treatments that cost £30,000 or less.

The Care2 petition urges Roche to work to lower the remarkable drug's price so that public health services can cover it and it can become more widely available. Because the NHS is unable to cover the cost of the drug, women who want access must request special permission from their consultants and argue why Kadcyla is necessary over other more available drugs.

NHS chief executive Andrew Dillon said he was "disappointed" in the high cost of the drug. The head of pricing at Roche, Jennifer Cozzone, said the price of the drug reflects its value to the consumers.

For more information, or for interviews with Margaret Connolly, please contact Yasmina Dardari at +1 (407) 922-8149 or by email at [email protected]

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Yasmina Dardari
[email protected]
C: 407.922.8149
O: 202.695.8262