Cancer drug fund spending varies widely between authorities

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 04 April 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d2154
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1 London

The UK government has launched its £200m (€226m; $320m) a year fund to pay for expensive anticancer drugs that have not been approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) after what it calls a “successful” £50m interim fund that has been operating across England since last October.

Results from a survey of haematologists and oncologists carried out by Roche, however, indicate that some doctors have been unable to access the fund, while others are being put off using it because of the complexity of the application process. Spending on Roche’s anticancer drug bevacizumab has been rising in many strategic health authorities since the fund was made available.

A review of spending across the 10 strategic health authorities also shows that although some have used all of their allocated amounts, others have spent very little and continue to deny access to some drugs.

The chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, promised the new funding …

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