Cancer Drugs Fund consultation opened

The CDF was established in 2011 to fund cancer drugs which the health watchdog, NICE, has rejected for widespread use on the NHS. It has allowed approximately 72,000 patients to access drugs not routinely funded on the NHS.

The proposed changes will fully integrate the CDF into the NICE appraisal process, making it a transitional fund with clear criteria for entry and exit. This means that when a drug comes on to the market NICE can put it onto the CDF for up to two years and gather real world evidence to evaluate how well it works in practice. This analysis will then be used to determine whether the treatment should be accepted for routine use in the NHS.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: “Over the next five years we’re likely to see many new cancer drugs coming on to the worldwide market – some of which will be major therapeutic breakthroughs, and some of which will turn out to offer little extra patient benefit but at enormous cost. The new Cancer Drugs Fund offers a route for sorting out the wheat from the chaff, so that patients in England get faster access to the genuinely most promising new treatments. For those drug companies willing to price their products affordably while sharing transparent information about ‘real world’ patient benefit, the new CDF will offer a new fast-track route to NHS funding.”

Sir Bruce Keogh, national medical director, NHS England, said: “While it won’t avoid the ongoing need to make difficult judgements about how best to use the NHS’ funding for cancer care, the development of these proposals is a big step forward in ensuring a process which will get the most promising drugs to NHS patients at an affordable price as quickly as possible.”

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