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Government Cancer Drugs Fund in doubt

Published on 27/08/2010
The government's proposed Cancer Drugs Fund could be in jeopardy, meaning private medical cover may be the only way for many to access medication not available on the NHS.

Ministers had pledged to set aside a fund of £200 million to help people buy cancer drugs not approved by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), which regulates what treatments the NHS can buy for its patients based on cost-effectiveness.

However, the Department of Health has now admitted the £200 million figure is only "aspirational", the Daily Mail reports.

Furthermore, according to the news provider, the majority of the fund could be wiped out by claims for Avastin, the bowel cancer drug recently rejected by NICE.

It estimates that, with 6,500 people with advanced bowel cancer every year, at a cost of £20,800 per patient, claims for Avastin could cost the fund £135 million.

"Our figures show that, without the £200million of funding, thousands of cancer patients will be denied the treatment their clinicians feel they need," commented The Rarer Cancer Foundation chief executive Andrew Wilson.

According to Bowel Cancer UK, UK patients with advanced bowel cancer survive for an average of 19 months, compared to up to 27 months for patients in countries that use Avastin.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2010


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