Cancer Drugs Fund 'was not fit for purpose'
Costs of medicines continued...
Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive at Breast Cancer Now, comments in a statement: "The fund was only ever intended as a sticking plaster to enable patients to access effective modern cancer drugs while the significant flaws in the NICE appraisal process were fixed. But, unfortunately, no effective reform has been forthcoming.
"The pharmaceutical industry has a vital role to play in pricing treatments fairly and affordably. However, the time has come for a conversation about reforms to the way that we fund and appraise drugs, as well as about investment in cancer and life sciences in this country."
Fiona Leslie from Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, who is receiving trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla) after her breast cancer spread, agrees. "I think the Cancer Drugs Fund was established as a knee jerk reaction to solve a growing crisis in finding innovative treatments for cancer," she says.
She adds: "Today's report is very clear in highlighting the mismanagement of the fund – something that has to be laid at the door of those administering the system, not the doctors applying for funding to try to help their patients. The report fails to focus on any benefits and successes achieved under the scheme, making it a very biased representation of many patients' experiences.
"The CDF has paid for a drug which has kept me alive for two years to date, with minimal side effects, and a fantastic quality of life. Many others have lived for much longer, thanks to the fund. Those of us taking drugs funded through the CDF are well aware that the side effects may be significant and make personal choices about how long we can continue. We have to balance quantity with quality."
In a statement, Emlyn Samuel, Cancer Research UK's senior policy manager, says: "This study looked at the old Cancer Drugs Fund in England which wasn't fit for purpose and was reformed in 2016.
"By collecting data on drugs in the new CDF, we hope it will help give patients better access to innovative cancer drugs."