Every month matters
Every Month Matters was a campaign we launched in March 2017, where we called for fair access to life extending treatments for pancreatic cancer. Following years of dedicated campaigning by patients in August 2017, NICE reviewed its guidance, reversed their decision and made Abraxane available on the NHS in England.
What is Abraxane?
Abraxane® is a chemotherapy drug that when used in combination with Gemcitabine has been shown to extend patients life by an average of just over two months, compared to receiving gemcitabine alone.
Abraxane is recommended by NICE guidelines in combination in gemcitabine as an option for untreated metastatic pancreatic cancer if other combination chemotherapies are unsuitable – often in cases where the patient is too unwell to receive FOLFIRINOX that may have some side effects and is often toxic.
Background to the Abraxane campaign
In 2014, Abraxane was licensed for use in the UK, but was then subsequently withdrawn. In February 2014, we launched our Two More Months campaign, which aimed to make the chemotherapy drug Abraxane® available for eligible pancreatic cancer patients across the UK.
In March 2014, Abraxane was added to the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) for England; however, the CDF announced in September 2015 that Abraxane would be removed from the approved list. This was followed by the decision by NICE in 2015, not to approve the use of Abraxane in the NHS, as it was not considered cost effective.
Every Month Matters campaign
On the 21st March 2017, we launched the Every Month Matters campaign to call for fair access to life extending treatments for pancreatic cancer and calling for bodies responsible for approving life-extending treatments to take into account the huge value of extra time for people with just a few months to live. For less survivable cancers such as pancreatic cancer, we need to value the relative survival gains that a drug or treatment provides as opposed to overall survival.
Following years of dedicated campaigning by patients in August 2017, NICE reviewed its guidance and reversed their decision and made Abraxane available on the NHS in England.
Which parts of the UK is Abraxane® now available?
Different parts of the UK have different appraisal systems to determine which drugs and treatments will be paid for by the NHS.
Abraxane has been available on the NHS in Wales and Scotland since 2014 and 2015 respectively. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) approved the treatment for use on the NHS in England in August 2017 and following the NICE decision Northern Ireland updated its guidance on Abraxane in October 2017, making the drug available to patients there.
Unlocking access to new treatments
Despite the success of the Two More Months and Every Month Matters campaign to get Abraxane approved for use across the whole of the UK, wider reform is still needed to ensure that more treatments become available. To find out more about improving access to life-extending treatment see out Key to Survival campaign.
When there are new treatments that show promise for pancreatic cancer patients, we will campaign to make sure they are made available on the NHS as soon as possible.