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14
Jan
Cancer Drugs Fund axes sixteen life-extending treatments

written by

Leukaemia Care, Charity

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It was announced earlier this week that sixteen life-extending cancer drugs are to be removed from a list of drugs approved for funding via the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF).

The CDF was introduced in 2010 and has enabled over 50,000 cancer patients in England to access life-extending, or potentially life-saving, treatments which are not routinely available within the mainstream NHS in England.

The CDF was initially set up to fund drugs that had not been approved by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) – this could have been because they were either: yet to be assessed, currently undergoing assessment or had been assessed and determined to be not cost-effective.

Many of the drugs listed on the CDF are routinely available across Europe. UK cancer survival rates continue to lag behind those of the rest of Europe, and making it more difficult to access many of these drugs surely won’t help change this?

 A number of drugs and indications currently on the CDF have been reassessed and for the first time a cost-effectiveness measure was included. The results of this review have just been released. It has been decided that from March 2015, sixteen drugs, in twenty-five indications, are to be removed from the approved list. Additionally two drugs in three indications were approved and added to the list. The drugs to be delisted include a number of drugs used to treat a range of blood cancers.

It must be stressed that any changes to the availability of drugs on this list will not affect patients who are currently receiving treatment as these patients will continue to receive treatment for as long as they will benefit from it. These changes will only impact on the future availability of the treatments for patients.

Below is a summary of the outcomes of the blood cancer drugs reviewed:

Drug

Disease

Indication

What’s happened?

Bendamustine (Levact®)

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Refractory to rituximab

De-listed

Bortezomib (Velcade®)

Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL)

Relapsed

De-listed

Bortezomib (Velcade®)

Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL)

Relapsed – Bortezomib naïve patients

Retained

Bortezomib (Velcade®)

Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinaemia

Relapsed

De-listed

Bortezomib (Velcade®)

Myeloma

Relapsed

De-listed

Bosutinib (Bosulif®)

Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML)

Chronic Phase

Retained

Bosutinib (Bosulif®)

Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML)

Accelerated Phase

Retained

Bosutinib (Bosulif®)

Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML)

Blast Phase

De-listed

Brentuximab (Adcetris®)

Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL)

Relapsed

Retained

Brentuximab (Adcetris®)

Hodgkin lymphoma

Relapsed

Retained

Dasatinib (Sprycel®)

Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML)

Blast phase

De-listed

Dasatinib (Sprycel®)

Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

Philadelphia chromosome positive (Ph+)

Retained

Idelalisib (Zydelig®)

Chronic lymphatic leukaemia (CLL)

Relapsed

Retained

Lenalidomide (Revlimid®)

Myeloma

Relapsed

Retained

Ofatumumab (Arzerra®)

Chronic lymphatic leukaemia (CLL)

Relapsed or refractory

De-listed

Pomalidomide (Imnovid®)

Myeloma

Relapsed

Retained

Vemurafenib (Zelboraf®)

Hairy cell leukaemia

All patients

Rejected

Additionally two new blood cancer drugs were assessed:

Drug

Disease

Indication

What’s happened?

Ibrutinib (Imbruvica®)

Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL)

Relapsed

Approved

Ibrutinib (Imbruvica®)

Chronic lymphatic leukaemia (CLL)

Relapsed

Approved

Idelalisib (Zydelig®)

Chronic lymphatic leukaemia (CLL)

Adverse mutations – 17p deletion or TP53

Rejected

Monica Izmajlowicz, Leukaemia CARE’s Chief Executive, said: “We are deeply concerned by the impact the delisting of these drugs may have on the lives of future cancer patients, their carers, families and friends. These drugs offer patients more time with their families and an improvement in their quality of life. The lack of availability of life-prolonging cancer drugs in England, which are often routinely available throughout the rest of Europe, demonstrates the flaws in the approval processes of NICE.

The Cancer Drugs Fund was introduced in England in 2011. It was established in order to provide a means by which NHS patients in England could get cancer drugs that are not routinely available on the NHS. It was originally intended as an effective bridge to the Government’s aim of introducing a value-based pricing system for branded drugs in 2014 this system still has not been introduced and the CDF now exists in a kind of limbo.”

If you are affected by any of these changes and would like to speak to somebody, please call our CARE line on 08088 010 444.

To view full details on the drugs to be removed from the approved list, please click here.

If this change affects you, sign the current e-petition calling for a reassessment. Register your vote here.