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New cancer drug available is a monumental step forward – but more needs to be done.

The approval of Abemaciclib by the HSE marks a monumental step forward in cancer treatment for Ireland.
 
The drug, manufactured by pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, will be given to people with high-risk oestrogen-driven breast cancer and could reduce the chance of their cancer returning by 30%. It will be available in Ireland from June 1st.
 
Knowing that a drug with the potential to reduce recurrence risk so significantly brings hope not just to individuals diagnosed with high-risk oestrogen-driven breast cancer, but to the entire community affected by cancer.
This advancement underscores the importance of having access to new innovative treatments promptly.
 
While this news is a welcome step forward, Ireland currently lags behind our European neighbours in making innovative cancer treatments available to patients.
The latest data from European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) shows that it takes on average 673 days from EMA licensing before new cancer medicines are made available to patients. This ranks Ireland in 28th place out of 37 countries with Portugal the only Western European country that is slower.
 
Liz Yeates, CEO of Marie Keating Foundation, said: “While the availability of this innovative new treatment option helps in aligning Ireland with our European counterparts in cancer care, hopefully, this is just the beginning of accelerated approval for more life-saving treatments.
 
“While we must celebrate this advancement, we must continue to push for quicker access to innovative treatments that can vastly improve quality of life and survival rates for cancer patients in Ireland.”
 
For anyone dealing with metastatic or advanced cancer, the Marie Keating Foundation runs a Positive Living Programme which provides support and information when most needed. The programme comprises of monthly meetings, for men and women living with metastatic cancer, which are free to attend.
 
The aim of the programme is to help those who have advanced or metastatic cancer reach an improved quality of life by providing specialised supports and connecting them with both experts and with other people affected by similar circumstances who they may be able to relate to on a peer-to-peer level.
 
If you are interested in finding out more, please email us at [email protected] or call us on 01 628 3726.