The £200m cancer drugs fund
The government's Cancer Drugs Fund, worth £200 million a year, came into effect on 1 April 2011 to help improve access to cancer drugs. Thank you to all our campaigners who helped secure the fund – we couldn’t have done it without you.
What is the Cancer Drugs Fund?
The Cancer Drugs Fund is a special fund created by the government to help improve access to cancer drugs for people living in England. The governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland decide separately how they spend their money on health. So far, they haven’t decided to set up similar funds.
The fund is for cancer drugs that aren’t routinely available on the NHS. This may include drugs that haven’t been approved for funding, are yet to be approved for funding or that aren’t approved for a specific type of cancer.
England is divided into 10 Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) and each one will be given a share of the fund.
If you want to apply for the fund, your cancer specialist will need to make the application on your behalf. They will need to show that the drug is not currently available to you on the NHS and that they have investigated all other options.
Visit our cancer information pages to find out if you are eligible, and how to apply to the fund.
The Cancer Drugs Fund has been extended and will now be available until the end of March 2016.
Our new report
We are delighted that the Cancer Drugs Fund has already helped over 7,000 patients get hold of drugs their doctors have recommended for them. Macmillan is also pleased that people with rarer cancers have benefited from the Fund.
However, there is still more that can be done to make sure the Cancer Drugs Fund is used as effectively as possible.
Our report, Improving Access? [PDF, 1.17MB] makes the following recommendations to the government:
We are calling for the government to monitor closely how the Cancer Drugs Fund is working so that patients can access the drugs that will be effective in treating or controlling their cancer no matter where they live in England.
We are also calling for all the drugs that are being made available through the Fund to be automatically available on the NHS in 2014, when a new system for pricing medicines is launched.
Read Macmillan’s report Improving Access? [PDF, 1.17MB].
Access to drugs in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland decide separately how they spend their money on health. All three have chosen not create a cancer drugs fund, but are looking at different ways to improve access to cancer drugs.
Macmillan is working closely with the governments in the devolved nations to make sure these solutions improve access to drugs for as many cancer patients as possible.