Breakout session 1: Wider access to drug treatments
Where access to drug treatments is concerned, it is notable that the smaller the population affected by a particular cancer the fewer treatments there are available and the more difficult it is for NICE to evaluate the treatments due to lack of evidence.
For some extremely rare cancers, where there are no licensed treatments, there is wide variation in whether people can access near-label treatments.
Furthermore, many patients experience emotional and practical difficulties as a result of not being able to access effective treatments, especially when they have participated in the exceptional case procedure.
In a session drawing on the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer’s Inquiry report recommendations around promoting fairer access to drug treatments, attendees were asked whether the APPGC has got it right when it comes to NICE reform and what more could realistically be done to ensure all cancer patients get speedy access to clinically effective drug treatments available throughout the rest of Europe.
The Earl Howe - Vice-Chair, APPG on Cancer (Chair)
Catherine Foot - Senior Fellow, Policy, The King's Fund
View Catherine Foot's presentation [PDF, 222kb]
The NICE appraisal process is not sufficiently flexible where orphan drug treatments are concerned.
The NICE appraisal process is not appropriate for dealing with drug treatments for the very rarest cancers.
There are variations in the patterns of prescribing between PCTs across the country.
It can be hard for many people with rare or less common cancers to access clinical trials.
Patients going through the exceptional case procedure are not given sufficient practical and emotional support .
There is a lack of consistency in the decisions made by exceptional case panels.
Top three ideas for reducing cancer inequalities:
Increase the overall NHS budget for new drugs.
NICE should adopt a more flexible approach to appraising orphan drugs taking account of relatively small number of patients involved.
Oncologist and clinician advice and the views of patients and their representatives in the NICE appraisal process should be increased significantly.
Breakout session two: Research and technologies