Fiona's story

Fiona Morrison.JPG


My name is Fiona Morrison and I'm 45 years old and currently living in Paisley. Until March of last year I was working for an international relief and development charity as a Scotland based relationship manager.

After finding a lump in my left breast during Christmas 2016, I was diagnosed with HER2+ breast cancer in the January of 2017. By February I had started my treatment involving six rounds of chemo to be followed by surgery and radiotherapy.

Due to my HER2+ status I was also to be given 18 rounds of Herceptin, however on various breast cancer support forums online I noticed a number of women discussing the drug Perjeta (pertuzumab). 

I asked my oncologist why that hadn't been mentioned so far in my treatment and it was then I discovered that it was not available on the NHS in Scotland. 

I was concerned about my type of breast cancer, as it's known to be an aggressive type with a high recurrence rate, and the thought of not being able to access yet another drug that could make a difference was both frustrating and worrying. In fact I stopped trying to discover anything more about pertuzumab as I realised the more information I might have on it, the more discouraged I might become that it could not be accessed.

the thought of not being able to access yet another drug that could make a difference was both frustrating and worrying

That situation changed when I began following Just Treatment on Twitter and discovered they had a proposal to change this situation for breast cancer patients in Scotland . Through Just Treatment I understood that the problem wasn't that the NHS didn't want to fund the drug - but rather the pharmaceutical company were asking so much for it that it was not cost effective. Understanding how much Roche were charging for pertuzumab made me realise what a broken system we have for accessing drugs and it is high time the status quo is challenged and changed.

life should never be at risk to prioritise profit

I am supporting Just Treatment's campaign to ask the Scottish government to take action because this is a highly effective drug, which my own oncologist admitted he would have used without question if he had been able.

This is a drug that could not only improve the health of those of us with a primary breast cancer diagnosis - but even more critically, pertuzumab could give secondary breast cancer patients many extra months of life. A cancer diagnosis is scary - it leads to you valuing every day and appreciating what is important in life - and life should never be at risk to prioritise profit.

Elizabeth Baines