The National Health Action Party is calling for NHS England and the Department of Health to phase out the Cancer Drugs Fund and invest in the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to speed up its appraisal processes for new health technologies and drugs. On Monday an NHS England review is expected to cut back on the Fund and remove drugs from a list of approved medicines.
Consultant cancer specialist and co-leader of the National Health Action Party, Dr Clive Peedell said: "It's time to call for an end to the Cancer Drugs Fund and phase it out altogether. It is unacceptable that the CDF has been allowed to undermine the decision-making processes of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). We currently have an unethical situation where cancer patients are prioritised above all other patients, undermining the fundamental NHS principle that all patients should be treated equally. Hundreds of millions of pounds of NHS funds are being diverted to treatments of limited or questionable benefit, when there may be much greater overall benefits to other patient groups if the money was spent elsewhere."
"The Cancer Drugs Fund also gives a perverse incentive for pharmaceutical companies to keep their drug prices high, because if they fail NICE’s evaluation, they can still be funded by the CDF. The CDF was always a populist political fix to appease patient pressure groups and the pharmaceutical industry, in order to minimise criticism on a very sensitive and emotive issue. However, like most political fixes, it has resulted in a failing policy, which much be abandoned as soon as possible." Doctor Peedell added.