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Cancer medicine funding to stop

15 January 2015 09:53

Prime Minister David Cameron launched the Cancer Drugs Fund in 2010

Prime Minister David Cameron launched the Cancer Drugs Fund in 2010

Funding for nearly a third of all treatments currently offered by the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) is to be dropped as part of a Government drive to save £80 million.

Why is funding being cut?

The move is aimed at preventing the cost of the CDF from surging to £420 million in 2016, with the budget already set to increase from £280 million to £340 million in April.

It comes after pharmacists, patients' representatives and other healthcare experts carried out a review of the drugs currently on offer via the CDF and found 25 of the 84 treatments should no longer be funded.

Successful negotiations with pharmaceutical companies have led to prices for some of the other treatments to be reduced, while three new drugs are set to become available through the fund soon.

The CDF was first launched five years ago by Prime Minister David Cameron and originally had a budget of £200 million. It represents an alternative route for patients to access treatments that are not financed through the normal health budget.

Patients who are currently receiving one of the 25 treatments set to be cut from the CDF will continue to receive it, NHS England said.

This means, for example, that people with cancer who are planning to go on a holiday - for whom we offer special travel insurance for cancer patients - will not have to worry about their medicines no longer being available when they return.

What the Department of Health says

A spokesman for the Department of Health explained that the aim is for people to have access to the very latest drugs, and "advances in medical science" mean new treatments are being developed all the time.

He added that this is why the decision has been made to stop funding drugs with "limited clinical benefit".

What Beating Bowel Cancer says

Beating Bowel Cancer chief executive Mark Flannagan said the announcement was "bad news for bowel cancer patients", adding that two thirds of advanced bowel cancer patients could die earlier as a result of the decision.

Mr Flannagan described the funding stop as "a backward step" which will force doctors to tell patients that the drugs which could prolong their lives will no longer be available.

What Breast Cancer Care says

Samia al Qadhi, chief executive at Breast Cancer Care, said it was "devastating news" for thousands of breast cancer patients who will now be denied the "chance of improved quality of life and extra time with their loved ones".