Criticism mounts over 'opportunistic' cancer drug fund
By Stephen Robinson, 06 August 2010
The government's cancer drug fund is an example of 'political opportunism and intellectual incoherence', according to The Lancet.
In a stinging editorial published on Friday, The Lancet condemned the policy for undermining the role of NICE and ‘the entire concept of a rational and evidence-based approach’ to resource allocation.
It comes after Dr Bill Beeby, chairman of the GPC prescribing subcommittee, told GP newspaper the fund was questionably fair and could run out.
‘Is it fair to have an organisation called NICE, which is supposed to make that assessment, and then find that pressure on the government leads to a special fund for some people?’ he said.
Under the plans, clinicians can appeal to a regional SHA panel, which holds a portion of the drug fund, if a patient is declined a drug on cost effectiveness grounds.
The Lancet editorial said this regional body will instill a regional bias and lead to a postcode lottery on successful funding, depending on whether the SHA has exhausted its drugs fund budget.
‘Scratch the surface, and it quickly becomes clear that what this fund represents is not the victory for patient groups that some believe,’ it said.
Drug provision in other disease areas such as dementia and multiple sclerosis was ranked equally as low, an accompanying report by National Cancer Director Professor Mike Richards showed. But at present have not been given their own fund, the editorial noted.
‘Presumably emergency funds for dementia and multiple sclerosis drugs will be announced in due course – anything else would be intellectually indefensible,’ it said.
Send to a friend
Latest Stories from GP
Latest jobs Jobs web feed
- Salaried GP's Avicenna Medical Practice Negotiable and to include benefits, Bradford, West Yorkshire
- Part-Time Salaried GP (with a view to Partnership) Culcheth Medical Centre Competitive Salary, Warrington, Cheshire
- Full-Time Partner Badgerswood Surgery Negotiable, Hampshire/Surrey/West Sussex Border
- Full Time Partner/Salaried GP (8 sessions) to replace retiring Partner Stirling Road Surgery Details available on request, Devon
- 7 session Partner Chobham and West End Medical Practice Profit Sharing Partner, North West Surrey
- SALARIED /LONG TERM LOCUM LEADING TO FIXED SHARE PARTNERSHIP White City Health Centre £70000 TO £80000 but salary negotiable and dependent on experience and qualifications., London W12 7PH & Southall UB1 1JH
- GPs should take on 30% of A&E work, say emergency doctors
- Harmoni admits running out-of-hours centre with no doctors
- Fears over NHS England capacity to manage general practice
- GPs launch national federation to counter rising pressure on practices
- TV show seeks GP couple as presenters
- Dementia diagnosis must accelerate, warns Hunt
MIMS Drug Search
Possible searches include drugs (by brand, generic ingredient or drug class), diseases and more.