A petition from charity Breast Cancer Now urging Roche to cut the price of its secondary breast cancer drug Kadcyla has been handed to the company after receiving over 42,000 signatures.

Kadcyla (trastuzumab emtansine) is estimated to cost more than £90,000 per patient at its full list price, which caused NICE to reject the treatment for routine funding.

NICE chief executive Sir Andrew Dillon said at the time: “Although Roche proposed a discount to the full list price of Kadcyla, it made little difference to its value for money, leaving it well above the top of our specially-extended range of cost-effectiveness for cancer drugs. The company is well aware that we could not have recommended the drug at the price it proposed.”

Kadcyla has been available on the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) since the rejection, but is due to be axed next week, spurring breast cancer charity Breast Cancer Now to launch a Change.org petition asking Roche to drop the price. The charity says it was been “overwhelmed” by the response to the peition, which has now topped 42,000 signatures and was handed in at Roche’s UK pharmaceutical business base in Welwyn Garden City earlier today.

In a statement, the charity added: “Breast Cancer Now believes responsibility lies with the manufacturer to drop the price to a level that the NHS can afford and it remains hopeful that there is still time for Roche and the NHS to reach an agreement before Kadcyla is removed from the fund permanently.”

It believes that a temporary price drop in order to keep the drug on the CDF is the only option to ensure continued access for patients, until the wider problems with the system of drug pricing and evaluation are worked through.

But a spokesperson for Roche told PharmaTimes earlier in the month that the discounts being sought by NHS England for individual drugs on the CDF - including Kadcyla - are simply too high. That is why the company is offering the NHS potential savings of some £15 million but spread across the four of its medicines currently available through the CDF, even for those not in danger of being de-listed.

“We want to safeguard access to all four Roche medicines currently funded through the CDF,” said Deborah Lancaster, director, Roche Products, in an emailed statement.