The UK government has cut down the list of cancer therapies it will pay for through the Cancer Drugs Fund
The Cancer Drugs Fund, which covers the cost of some cancer treatments that are not currently available on the NHS, has cut 23 treatments – involving 16 drugs – from the list of therapies it will make available to patients in England.
The measure comes after the CDF’s spending projections for 2015/2016 suggested it would go nearly £100 million over its planned budget of £340 million.
Among the drugs axed from the list are Roche’s Kadcyla (trastuzumab emtansine), which is used to treat advanced breast cancer at an annual cost of £90,000 per patient, and Pfizer’s Bosulif (bosutinib) which is used to treat chronic myeloid leukaemia.
While new patients will not be able to access treatment through the fund, NHS England say those already receiving any of the de-listed treatments will not be affected.
The decision has been widely criticised by cancer charities and industry bodies. The Rarer Cancers Foundation estimated thousands of patients would be affected, while Alison Clough, acting chief executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), described the move as ‘extremely disappointing’. ‘Any decision which deprives patients of life-saving and life-enhancing medicines is a significant blow to the health and well-being of future NHS patients,’ she said in a statement.