David Cameron will use the Conservative Party’s Annual Conference to announce an extension to a £200million fund providing access to cancer drugs which are not regularly available on the NHS, according to a report in the Financial Times today (27 September). The Cancer Drugs Fund, launched in 2011 to pay for drugs judged too expensive by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), was originally due to expire in March next year.
Commenting on the reports, Prostate Cancer UK Chief Executive Owen Sharp said:
"The Cancer Drugs Fund can act as a lifeline for men with prostate cancer where treatments aren’t available routinely, so it’s great to hear that it’s being extended. However, the sad truth is that the fund is merely a sticking plaster in the face of a much greater problem. For too long men with advanced prostate cancer have had limited or even non-existent access to treatment options which can help them live well.
Instead of short term solutions we need a better overall system for drug pricing which ensures that all men everywhere have access to the drugs they need when they need them. The Government’s new system is set to come into force in three months yet little information is available on how it will work and there has been precious little consultation with the people it will affect the most.
This is unacceptable let-down of the one in eight men who will develop prostate cancer in the UK, so we urge government to engage more with patient groups and consider delaying implementation to ensure the system is fit for purpose."