Cancer drugs fund slashes a quarter of current treatments

More than one in four currently approved indications of drugs financed by the Cancer Drugs Fund will no longer be available to patients from April, NHS England has announced.

Funding: Cancer Drugs Fund costly (Photo: JH Lancy)
Funding: Cancer Drugs Fund costly (Photo: JH Lancy)

The Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF), under fire recently for overspending its budget, has dropped 25 out of 84 approved indications drugs from its approved list. Three new drugs have been approved for use.

After reports that the CDF had exceeded its £280 million budget for 2014/15 by up to £100 million, NHS England announced that the review would create projected savings of approximately £80 million.

The budget for the CDF will grow from £200 million in 2013/14, to £280 million in 2014/15, and an estimated £340 million from April 2015.

The CDF said that patients using drugs no longer approved would continue to receive them, and that clinicians could apply for their patient to receive a drug not available through the CDF on an exceptional basis.

Evidence-based review

Professor Peter Clark, chairman of the CDF, said: ‘We have been through a robust, evidence-based process to ensure the drugs available offer the best clinical benefit, getting the most for patients from every pound.’

"There were drugs that did not offer sufficient clinical benefit so we simply cannot go on funding those.  There were others that offered some benefit but were costly and I am pleased that a number of pharmaceutical firms worked with us to make prices more affordable, saving millions of pounds that can now be reinvested in other treatments.'

‘These are difficult decisions, but if we don’t prioritise the drugs that offer the best value, many people could miss out on promising, more effective treatments that are in the pipeline,' Professor Clark said.

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