UK’s only lung cancer charity welcomes NICE decision to allow patients access to immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab

Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation welcomed today’s decision by NICE to approve the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab for use by NHS patients in England as a first-line treatment for certain types of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Pembrolizumab will be available via the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) in England for two years.

Paula Chadwick is chief executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. She said: “We welcome this decision as a significant advance which can help lung cancer patients to live longer and enjoy a better quality of life. 

“We recognise that new treatments such as immunotherapies, including pembrolizumab, are expensive to develop and to supply. But we will always stand shoulder-to-shoulder with lung cancer patients, with their families and carers, and with all who work tirelessly to find better treatments.

“So we are delighted when a new drug therapy such as pembrolizumab is made available to NHS patients in England via the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF).

“To have a new and effective first-line therapy available to lung cancer patients is wonderful news. We recognise that lung cancer occurs in many forms, and this means that certain treatments such as this one will not be effective for all patients. But for those for whom this immunotherapy may be suitable, it represents a fresh option and a new hope. That has to be a good thing”.

Every year in the UK, 46,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer. The disease claims around 36,000 lives each year.

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