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New Cancer Drugs Fund is flawed without NICE reform, says Roche

BMJ 2016; 354 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i4216 (Published 29 July 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;354:i4216
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. London

The drug company Roche has called for a review of how the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) approves drugs for use on the NHS after the launch of the revamped Cancer Drugs Fund, which it says will deny patients access to new medicines.

The fund opened for business on 29 July under a new model, designed to give new drugs a chance to prove their clinical value without breaking the public purse.

Under its new guise the fund will pay for drugs for a limited period in the hope that real life experience will prove their worth and enable them to meet the cost effectiveness threshold for NHS use. Drugs that fail will be rejected from NHS reimbursement and will fall out of the fund. Those that succeed will be given NICE’s blessing and will become reimbursable.

Under its original format the fund would pay for any cancer drug that was not available to NHS patients, which many saw as a political …

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