Johnstone challenges health minister over breast cancer treatment drug

Scottish Greens health spokesperson Alison Johnstone MSP today (31 May) challenged Scottish health minister Shona Robison to use government powers to make breast cancer treatment drug Perjeta available on the NHS.

The Scottish Medicines Consortium has repeatedly rejected the drug’s use by the NHS, claiming it is not cost-effective.

However, almost 1,000 breast cancer patients could benefit from this drug every year, some of whom could survive for a further sixteen months

Alison Johnstone MSP said:

“Breast cancer patients could benefit from this drug, which is used south of the border. It's right for Ministers to stress that the Scottish Medicines Consortium has an independent process, but we can't overlook the fact that Ministers could use their devolved powers to enact a Crown Use licence to allow the production of versions of the drug.

“Such compulsory licences have been used in recent years in Germany, and just last year in Italy the prospect of a compulsory licence being enacted with regards to a Hepatitis C medicine helped to change the manufacturer’s stance on price.

“I will continue to raise the concerns that breast cancer patients have brought to me on this issue, as they deserve access to the treatment they need. I believe the manufacturers of Perjeta must make an urgent resubmission to the Scottish Medicines Consortium, and it is important we do not rule out any legal mechanism or possibility for procurement which would help these patients.”



Recent Daily Record article on Perjeta, featuring cancer patient Jen Hardy


Recent Scotsman article on Perjeta, from Lawrence Cowan, Scotland manager for Breast Cancer Now