To: Letters editor, The Independent
3 February 2012
Jeremy Laurance raises an important issue about the balance of providing the best quality of care for all patients with value for money for the NHS [Why spare the drug companies? Friday 3 February]. However, we strongly dispute the claim that health charities like ours are helping to bankrupt the NHS by calling for patients to be given access to the treatments they need.
We accept NICE have a very difficult job to do and can only base their decisions on the evidence provided to them for appraisal. New drugs and treatments are critical in helping to help people with cancer live longer - but they have to make it to the patient. The current system of assessing the value of treatment on an average life extension is failing. People are not averages, they are individuals.
The Cancer Drugs Fund is the Government's admission that the system does not work. We fully support the negotiations between the Government and pharmaceutical industry that will lead to Value Based Pricing but, until that system is in place, patients with advanced cancer are losing out.
We do hope that pharmaceutical companies are able to put the patient at the heart of their businesses and agree fair prices, so that even the most innovative of drugs are made available to all who need them. Until this day comes, our organisations have a clear responsibility to represent the patient - it is why we exist and too often the 'system' ignores them.
|Owen Sharp||Mark Flannagan|
|Chief Executive||Chief Executive|
|The Prostate Cancer Charity||Beating Bowel Cancer|