17 May 2011
Responding to the news that the Government’s £200 million Cancer Drugs Fund is coming into effect today, Mike Hobday, Head of Policy at Macmillan Cancer Support, said:
'The £200 million Cancer Drugs Fund will make sure every cancer patient has a better chance to get the drugs their doctor prescribes for them. This is particularly important for those with a rarer cancer, who have historically lost out on getting drugs on the NHS.
'Drugs for rarer cancers are often more expensive as they can be harder to develop and are available for smaller populations. If the fund were to prioritise rare cancers treatments, this could be an incentive for more research and investment, and be a key step towards increasing access to treatments for all cancer patients.
'Although a large number of cancer patients have received life extending treatment because of the interim Fund in England, we know that there is sadly considerable variation in the way that it has been administered between regions. To prevent a postcode lottery the Government could develop best practice advice to complement national guidance, and ensure this knowledge is shared between different regions to prevent this happening with the full funding.
'It is crucial that funding decisions are monitored effectively and all funding decisions should be made in a timely manner and meet the 31 day cancer treatment standard '.
For further information, please contact:
Julie Wills, Assistant Press Officer 020 7840 4933
Notes to Editors:
 Cancer waiting time standards were introduced in the NHS Care Plan (2000) and the Cancer Reform Strategy (2007). The standards include: a maximum one month wait from date of decision to treat to first treatment for all cancers and a maximum 31 day wait for subsequent treatment is an anti-cancer drug regimen.
About Macmillan Cancer Support
Macmillan Cancer Support improves the lives of people affected by cancer, providing practical, medical, emotional and financial support. Working alongside people affected by cancer, Macmillan works to improve cancer care. One in three of us will get cancer. Two million of us are living with it. If you are affected by cancer Macmillan can help.
Call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00, Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm. Calls are free, including from mobiles or visit www.macmillan.org.uk