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Good news as cancer patients will get access to more treatments after price drops

Blister Pack of Pills

Pharmaceutical companies have lowered the prices of 14 key cancer medicines as part of a review by NICE of the old Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF).

The drugs were originally approved and available through the CDF. The companies involved reduced the prices and, in some instances, provided clearer evidence of the treatment’s benefit. NICE was then able to recommend the treatments for routine NHS use.

This decision ensures that the cancer treatments will not be withdrawn at the end of this review by NICE of the CDF.

The Cancer Drugs Fund

The CDF was established by the Government in 2010 as a temporary solution to improve access to cancer drugs that were not widely available on the NHS. But the Fund quickly surpassed its original £200 million budget.

The new NICE guidance published today recommends that cetuximab and panitumumab for bowel cancer are moved from the CDF into routine use. This means 14 drugs (across 18 indications) have received approval for routine NHS use so far.

The remaining drugs from the CDF are in the process of being appraised and no drugs have received a final negative decision.

The ICR welcomed the news

Professor Paul Workman, Chief Executive of the ICR, said: “It is great news for patients that cancer drugs from the Cancer Drugs Fund are being made available on the NHS after pharmaceutical companies have dropped their prices. We congratulate both NICE and the companies on this. The old Cancer Drugs Fund was too expensive and unsustainable, so it’s encouraging to see NICE properly appraising the drugs on the CDF.

“However, even with these eventual discounts, there are fundamental problems with the way cancer drugs are priced. We need to make sure drugs are priced at a level that makes cancer treatments, as a whole, affordable for the NHS in the first place, rather than companies pricing individual drugs at what the market can bear.

“This back and forth on price between NICE and the manufacturers must be avoided if we’re going to get new cancer treatments to patients as quickly as possible. People with cancer shouldn’t have to wait this long.”


Paul Workman Cancer Drugs Fund cetuximab panitumumab
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