The drug trastuzumab derukstecan is the last resort for breast cancer patients, but it costs a fortune. The Ministry of Health promised help. Number one on the list of 10 key cancer drugs was to be reimbursed. In March there was an announcement that it was a matter of weeks, but nothing has changed to this day.
Aleksandra Wiederek-Barańska has been fighting cancer and its metastases for seven years. First, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, then metastases to her liver, lungs and brain. At the moment, the drug trastuzumab derukstecan saves lives.
– I get it in the so-called special program and at the moment I don’t have to pay for it, but I don’t know how long this program will function – says Aleksandra.
This means that this drug is funded by a pharmaceutical company for the patient. Mrs. Henryka Kruszyk, who has also been battling breast cancer for many years, was not as lucky as Aleksandra. Her son helps. They have already paid over PLN 75,000 from family savings for three doses of the drug. Now the family is collecting for the next doses of the drug. – This is the last hope – says Mrs. Henryka’s son.
The Ministry of Health promised to reimburse the drug to cancer patients in March. At that time, we showed a list of ten non-reimbursed cancer drugs, on which trastuzumab derukstecan was in the first place.
– Practically 10 drugs are or will be reimbursed, so the entire list will soon be reimbursed – half is already covered today, and half will be covered in the coming weeks. In the coming weeks, the full top 10 list will be reimbursed – declared Wojciech Andrusiewicz, spokesman for the Ministry of Health in March. However, the announcements of the ministry ended there.
Negotiations with the manufacturer
The effectiveness of the drug is confirmed by oncologists. – There is a lot of talk about this drug. Last year, at the largest oncology conference in the world, the results of one of the studies that were presented received a standing ovation, so it is a drug that not only we doctors are waiting for, but also the entire patient community – points out Dr. Joanna Kufel- Grabowska, clinical oncologist at the Department of Oncology and Radiotherapy of the Medical University of Gdańsk.
This drug is reimbursed not only in most of the rich Western countries, but also in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Romania and Bulgaria. In Poland – despite the announcement – it is not, because the government is still negotiating the price of the drug with the manufacturer.
“The President of the Agency for Health Technology Assessment and Tariff System does not recommend including this drug in the reimbursement system on the proposed financial terms” – we read in the statement of the Ministry of Health.
The next round of negotiations between the Ministry of Health and the pharmaceutical company is coming soon. Patients will learn about its effects on September 1, when the new drug reimbursement list will come into force.
Main photo source: TVN facts