Friday 18 January 2019

'Pembro' drug to be given to all women with cervical cancer

Vicky Phelan. Photo: Frank McGrath
Vicky Phelan. Photo: Frank McGrath

Eilish O’Regan

All women who have advanced cervical cancer, who are assessed as suitable, are to be offered the experimental drug Pembrolizumab, it emerged today.

The drug which CervicalCheck campaigner Vicky Phelan has credited with reducing her tumours is currently only available to women caught up in the CervicalCheck scandal.

Ms Phelan has campaigned for it to be extended to all women with the cancer.

But it is now to be made available to women outside the group under a managed access programme.

Prof Michael Barry, head of National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics said not all patients will respond to the drug and they will be assessed after eight to six months to determine if it is having an effect.

The cost of the drug is €140,000 a year for each patient treated.

Among those seeking the drug is Galway musician and singer Aine Morgan who is fighting advanced cervical cancer.

Ms Morgan from Loughrea was given two and a half years to live when diagnosed but has already defied those odds, describing herself as a “walking miracle.”

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