Charities welcome £50m interim cancer drugs fund

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 01 October 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c5464
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

The Department of Health in England has made an extra £50m (€60m; $80m) available to fund expensive anticancer drugs that have not been approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). The move has been welcomed by cancer charities but criticised by a leading health economist as unfair and as undermining NICE’s role.

The £50m is interim funding to be used in the six months until the government’s new Cancer Drugs Fund starts in April 2011. The exact amount of money available for the fund will not be known until after the comprehensive spending review but is expected to be £200m. A full public consultation on how the fund will work is to take place this autumn.

The government says the funding will help doctors and patients access drugs that NICE has not been able to appraise positively because of concerns about cost effectiveness or where it has not issued guidance or been unable to issue guidance.

The health secretary, Andrew Lansley, first announced the interim …

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