25 Cancer Treatments Removed From Fund

Cost Of Cancer Drugs Fund Expected To Hit £420m Next Year

13.01.2015

The government will stop funding 25 cancer treatments currently available on the Cancer Drugs Fund in an attempt to save £80m in costs, it has been revealed.

A review carried out by doctors, pharmacists and patients' groups concluded that the treatments should be dropped, while prices for others have been renegotiated. Another three drugs will be made newly available through the fund.

The troubled Cancer Drugs Fund was launched by David Cameron in 2010, originally costing £200m. However, that figure is expected to hit £420m next year.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said the drugs which are no longer supported had "limited clinical benefit" and that the changes will make room for more effective treatments.

Mark Flanagan, Chief Executive of Beating Bowel Cancer, said the changes are a "backward step", while Owen Sharp of Prostate Cancer UK said there is a "critical need" for a more effective way to commission cancer drugs in the UK.

"While it is good that another three breast cancer drugs remain on the list and budget for the Cancer Drugs Fund will grow, the priority now must be to urgently find a sustainable system that works," said Samia al Qadhi, Chief Executive of Breast Cancer Care.

Expert Opinion
Early diagnosis and treatment for cancer sufferers play a critical role in their chances of survival and recovery. The debate about the drugs available to cancer sufferers has been ongoing for a long period of time and it is concerning to hear that 25 types of treatment will no longer be available through the Cancer Drugs Fund.

“The decisions regarding the drugs available to cancer patients are no doubt extremely difficult, but it is important they are made with patient health in mind. It is vital that the issues encountered by the Fund are understood and action is taken to improve the way vital cancer-treating drugs are accessed by patients who require them.”
Mandy Luckman, Partner