5 December 2011
Macmillan has published a new report Improving Access? praising the Cancer Drugs Fund in England for improving access to vital medicines for thousands of cancer patients. However, there no plans to ensure that cancer patients will continue to receive treatment once the fund ends in 2014 and a new Value-Based Pricing System is introduced.
The key findings of the report include:
- The fund has helped more than 7,500 cancer patients including people with rarer cancers access drugs that are not available on the NHS.
- The fund is paving the way for a much better understanding of the clinical effectiveness of drugs to treat rarer cancers by the increase in off-label drugs being approved by funding panels.
- The regional approach to the fund has resulted in significant variation in the number of applications made and application approval rates across the different areas.
- There is concern that once the Cancer Drugs Fund ends in 2014 and the new Value-Based Pricing system is introduced, there are no plans to ensure cancer patients receiving treatment from the Fund will continue to have access to them.
Mike Hobday, Director of Policy and Research of Macmillan Cancer Support, said:
'We are really pleased the Cancer Drugs Fund has helped improved access for thousands of patients who have struggled to get hold of the drugs they and their doctors believe will be effective in treating or controlling their cancer.
'It is concerning that there are still regional disparities and we want the Department of Heath to look into this to ensure this variation doesn’t turn into a postcode lottery.
'We fully support the Government’s plans to reform the current drug pricing system. However they must ensure that support for cancer patients who have access the Cancer Drugs Fund doesn’t just stop in 2014 when the new system comes in. We are calling for all drugs made available through the fund to be made automatically available on the NHS when the Value-Based Pricing system is launched.'
The report has eight recommendations. To view the report, please visit: www.macmillan.org.uk/ImprovingAccess
To find out what Macmillan is doing to improve access to drugs in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland visit: http://www.macmillan.org.uk/GetInvolved/Campaigns/Unlockthedrugfund/Thecancerdrugsfund.aspx
For further information, please contact:
Sarah Ross, Senior Media and PR Officer, Macmillan Cancer Support
020 7840 4722 (out of hours 07801 307068)
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. More than one in three of us get cancer. Two million of us are living with it. If you are affected by cancer, Macmillan can help.