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Clinicians sidelined about whether “exceptional” cancer drugs should be funded

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 12 August 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a1306
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. 1Margate

    Doctors are being sidelined in decisions about whether patients with cancer should get their requests for exceptional drugs approved when they are not available on the NHS, says a report.

    A survey of England’s primary care trusts by the charity Rarer Cancers Forum found large differences in the policies and processes for approving such requests or appeals. The forum’s report, Taking Exception, calls the current situation chaotic and unfair.

    Patients can lodge an “exceptional request” with their local primary care trust for drugs to be funded that are not approved for prescribing in the NHS by the national watchdog, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). Patients …

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