Stay connected! Share and follow:

Leukaemia CARE Careline

We're here to talk | 24-hours a day

08088 010 444

FREE from landlines & most major mobile networks

Concerned charities write to Prime Minister about the Cancer Drugs Fund

written by

Leukaemia Care, Charity

  • PIXABAY-5042016-cure-1006811_1920

The Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) enables thousands of cancer patients to access treatments which are not available through mainstream NHS funding. However, some charities are concerned that recent changes made negate the original justifications for establishing the fund in the first place.

The CDF was set up in 2010 to enable cancer patients to access clinically effective drugs which have not been approved by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE). This may because they are yet to be reviewed, are currently being reviewed or because NICE’s review determined that they were not cost effective. However, NHS England has recently made changes to the way the CDF operates, so that for the first time the CDF’s assessment of drugs will include a consideration of their cost-effectiveness. It is felt that this new cost-based assessment has the potential to negate the entire utility of the CDF, by preventing patients from accessing effective drugs simply by virtue of their high prices. Additionally the consideration of the cost-effectiveness of drugs is a function already undertaken by NICE.

Under this new set of assessment criteria, drugs currently available via the CDF are to be reassessed on the 15th and 16th of December, with the potential for their removal from the approved list. The blood cancer drugs which are being reassessed are: ofatumumab, idelalisib, bosutinib, dasatinib, bendamustine, bortezomib, brentuximab, lenalidomide and pomalidomide. Whilst patients currently receiving these treatments would not be affected, these drugs would not be made available to new patients.

For a full list of the drugs being reassessed, please click here.

A coalition of charities, including Leukaemia CARE, has written a letter to the Prime Minister to express their concern about this change and to urge the Prime Minister to work with NHS England, NICE and the pharmaceutical industry to find a solution to this issue.

Monica Izmajlowicz, Leukaemia CARE Chief Executive, said: “We are concerned about the proposed reassessment of drugs currently available via the Cancer Drugs Fund and the potential this creates for effective blood cancer treatments to be removed from the approved list. If these drugs are removed from the CDF then patients will not be able to access treatments which can offer patients more time with their families and an improvement in their quality of life.

The CDF was set up to provide funding for clinically effective treatments which were determined by NICE to not be cost effective. Whilst we feel that the operation of the CDF needs review, we are concerned that introducing a cost based assessment into the CDF will impact on its overall utility because patients will not receive effective treatments simply because of their high prices.”

For more information, please see our previous news article here.