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18 of 24 Cancer Drugs Fund treatments given NHS approval by NICE

Tuesday 15th August 2017
Three-quarters of Cancer Drugs Fund therapies have now moved over to being funded on the NHS, thanks to recommendations from NICE. Image: artisteer via iStock
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Significant progress has been made with regard to moving the therapies that were financed by the Cancer Drugs Fund to be available on the NHS.

Three in four of the drugs that were funded by the government initiative can now be accessed by NHS patients after the 18th treatment, Nexavar, was given approval for prescription via the health service by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Nexavar (sorafenib) is manufactured by Bayer and is designed to extend the lives of patients with advanced liver cancer by up to three months.

It is one of the 24 treatments that was heavily subsidised by the UK government's Cancer Drugs Fund until the initiative was deemed to no longer be cost-effective last year. This led to widespread concern that some patients would not be able to receive drugs that could significantly improve their quality of life.

However, new deals have since been struck between the NHS and pharmaceutical manufacturers to bring their treatments to patients for free via the health service.

Meanwhile, for the six drugs yet to receive approval from NICE for funding on the NHS, NICE will be looking at whether they have shown promise in drug trials and can then decide whether to make them available for prescription, while still gathering further data on them to lead towards a final decision.

There hasn't been a single negative decision from NICE yet, with Professor Carole Longson, director of the NICE centre for health technology evaluation, explaining: "Working closely with companies and NHS England, we are delivering our promise to give people fast access to the most cost-effective cancer drugs.

"More cancer drugs than ever are being recommended for routine use because companies are working hard to provide cost-effective solutions.

"We are also applying flexibility in cases where drugs show promise, meaning people get access through the new CDF while further data is generated."

Written by James Puckle

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