Glasgow’s most senior breast cancer surgeon categorically stated tonight that the Roche press release ‘Are Scottish Patients Missing Out on the Chance of Combating Breast Cancer?’ is entirely misleading.
Professor Tim Cooke of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “There is no postcode prescribing of Herceptin in the West of Scotland. In fact it is fully funded and there is absolutely no restriction on our clinicians prescribing this drug for suitable patients.
“Our doctors know the drug works for certain patients and they like to use it.
"However, Herceptin, while effective, will only work for women who carry a specific protein known as HER2.
"To ensure that as many women as possible can be given the drug all breast cancer patients across the West of Scotland are tested for the HER2 protein and if appropriate they will be prescribed the drug.
“There are other reasons why there are different levels of Herceptin usage across the UK. For example, in the West of Scotland the population have higher rates of heart disease and patients with heart disease might be precluded from being prescribed Herceptin.
“It is also worth noting that in 2005 more than 700 women from the West of Scotland were the first in the UK to get access to Herceptin for the treatment of early stage breast cancer.
“Doctors who treat breast cancer patients will be taking forward a comprehensive audit looking at the provision of breast cancer treatment across Scotland including the prescribing of Herceptin.”
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