As the consultation on the way forward for the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) closes, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) urges the government to seize the opportunity and transform the way cancer medicines are assessed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and commissioned and funded by NHS England. If we do this, we can achieve a sustainable, affordable solution that will provide rapid access to new medicines for NHS patients.
The role of the CDF has been to fund medicines while they are undergoing assessment, that have been rejected, or are not going to be assessed by NICE, in order to ensure that NHS patients have access to them as they do in other EU countries.
Everybody agrees that the current approach to the Cancer Drugs Fund is no longer workable. We need wholesale evolution of the medicines assessment process used by NICE to address this.
Dr Paul Catchpole, Director - Value and Access, said,
"We remain committed to working with the Department of Health, NHS England, NICE, charities and patient groups to evolve the way that NICE assesses innovative medicines so that they can be made more rapidly available to NHS patients. Compared to other EU countries, the UK has some of the lowest prices for medicines, and a unique national pricing scheme in place which, since 2014, has seen the pharmaceutical industry pay over £1billion to the NHS to support investment in the latest medicines.
"We want the best for all cancer patients so they can get sustainable and rapid access to new medicines. The aim needs to be to get the right medicines to the right patients at the right time, but significant revisions are needed to the current proposals to permit new medicines to fully deliver their potential in improving NHS cancer outcomes."