News Feature | February 6, 2014

NHS England Adds Three New Therapies To Cancer Drugs Fund List

Source: Pharmaceutical Online

By Estel Grace Masangkay

Roche’s Trastuzumab emtansine, Bayer’s Radium-223 dichloride, and GlaxoSmithKline’s Dabrafenib have been added to the National Health Service’s (NHS) Cancer Drugs Fund list. NHS England released the update this week.

The Cancer Drug Fund gives an additional £200 million per year to fund cancer drugs that local patients are not able to access through their local NHS. A single national list consisting of regulatory approved fast-track cancer treatments, the Cancer Drugs Fund list aims to provide uniform access to cancer treatments to local patients. 

Roche’s Trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla) targets breast cancer. Bayer’s Radium-223 dichloride (Xofigo) targets prostate cancer while GlaxoSmithKline’s Dabrafenib (Tafinlar) targets metastatic or unresectable melanoma.

The new additions were approved following the drugs’ trial data review conducted by the Chemotherapy Clinical Reference Group (CRG). The CRG numbers among the 74 groups which provide clinical advice to NHS England.

Chemotherapy CRG Chair Professor Peter Clark said, “These new additions to the list demonstrate NHS England’s commitment to achieving maximum benefit to patients from the annual £200 million Cancer Drugs Fund. The process of updating the list is led by cancer specialists, and should ensure that patients benefit quickly when new drugs become available that are backed by good evidence from trial data.”

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said, “Cancer affects the lives of millions of people and their families, and the Cancer Drugs Fund provides vital access to life-extending or improving treatments.” Hunt said improved access to effective medicine is a government priority. “We are delighted that these new drugs will mean more patients will join over 38,000 cancer sufferers who have already benefited from the fund,” he said.

The Chemotherapy CRG updates the list by working closely with clinicians and pharmaceutical industry representatives. The collaboration aims to guarantee a speedy review process for candidate drugs that may be suitable to join the Cancer Drug Fund list.