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What is the Cancer Drugs Fund?

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The Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF), launched in 2011, was an extra pot of money to fund cancer drugs. It was a way to make sure patients had access to drugs that would not otherwise have been routinely available from the NHS because of their cost. The CDF could fund drugs that:

Since it began, the CDF has helped over 84,000 patients receive life-extending drugs, fulfilling its purpose to widen access to drugs.

A particular benefit of the CDF is that it enabled patients with rarer cancers access to effective treatment, where there may not have been sufficient data for it to be recommended by NICE under their standard approach.

Patient stories

To illustrate how these policy changes will affect real patients we have captured a number of chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) patient experiences.

A number of CML drugs that are currently available via the CDF are under review - dasatinib, bosutinib and ponatinib.  Although we have used CML treatments as an example, these changes could affect all patients with a rarer cancer (including many blood cancers).

For more detail on the challenges of access to rarer cancer drugs in England and why access to these drugs should be retained, see our patient experiences.