Friday, September 04, 2015

Thousands of cancer patients to be denied life-extending drugs due to NHS funding cuts

  • More than 5,500 patients will miss out on life-extending cancer treatment
  • This is due to cuts to the NHS Cancer Drugs Fund, formed in 2011
  • Charities hailed the cuts a 'hammer blow' to desperately ill patients 
Thousands of cancer patients were dealt a devastating blow today after several life-extending drugs were cut from the NHS budget.
More than 5,500 patients will miss out on life-extending cancer treatment as a result of cuts to the Cancer Drugs Fund, charities warned today. 
Among the drugs de-listed are those to treat breast cancer, multiple myeloma, bowel cancer, pancreatic cancer, cervical cancer and leukaemia.
Abraxane to treat pancreatic cancer has been removed, alongside Kadcyla for breast cancer and Avastin for cervical cancer, breast cancer and bowel cancer.
The Rarer Cancers Foundation said the decision by NHS England to remove more than a dozen drugs from the list dealt a 'hammer blow' to desperately ill patients and their families
More than 5,500 patients will miss out on life-extending cancer treatment as a result of cuts to the Cancer Drugs Fund, charities warned today
More than 5,500 patients will miss out on life-extending cancer treatment as a result of cuts to the Cancer Drugs Fund, charities warned today
The Cancer Drugs Fund was launched in 2011 by Prime Minister David Cameron, who said patients should no longer be denied drugs on cost grounds.
Due to demand, the fund has continuously gone over its initial £200 million annual budget.
The Government pledged extra cash in January to make the fund now worth £340 million a year.
According to the pharmaceutical company Roche, 2,000 patients every year have been receiving Avastin for bowel cancer, as have 300 patients for breast cancer and 300 for cervical cancer.
The Rarer Cancers Foundation said almost 1,800 patients with blood cancer would also now not receive treatment - and it is estimated that around 800 women a year will now no longer receive Kadcyla.
Andrew Wilson, chief executive of the Rarer Cancers Foundation, said: 'These cuts will be a hammer blow to many thousands of desperately ill cancer patients and their families.
'It is deeply disappointing that NHS England has pressed ahead with knee jerk cuts to the Cancer Drugs Fund before introducing the reforms to Nice that are so urgently required.
'Ministers told us they wanted to work with charities to develop a solution but now the NHS has announced big reductions in access to existing life-extending treatment, with no action to make available the newest game-changing drugs. This is a complete breach of faith.'
A Department of Health spokeswoman said the fund had helped more than 72,000 people access drugs.
She said: 'Advances in medical science mean that new treatments are emerging all the time - so expert clinical decisions mean the fund focuses on those drugs offering the greatest benefit to patients.

WHAT IS THE CANCER DRUGS FUND

The Cancer Drugs Fund was launched in 2011 by Prime Minister David Cameron, who said patients should no longer be denied drugs on cost grounds.
Due to demand, the fund has continuously gone over its initial £200 million annual budget.
The Government pledged extra cash in January to make the fund now worth £340 million a year.
'The Government has protected the NHS as part of the long term economic plan - this allows important initiatives like the Cancer Drugs Fund to exist.'
But many charities today reacted with anger to the funding announcement.
Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive at Breast Cancer Now, said: 'This is a dreadful day for breast cancer patients.
'Kadcyla is a one-of-a-kind drug proven to extend life, and the fact is that because Government, the NHS and the pharmaceutical industry have failed to agree realistic prices for new drugs, some women will die sooner.
'Despite many families relying on it, the CDF has unfortunately failed, and today's de-listing will further reduce the NHS's ability to keep pace with Europe in the treatment of breast cancer.'
Samia al Qadhi, chief executive of Breast Cancer Care, said: 'This devastating decision will mean shattered hopes for thousands of women who could have been helped by these drugs.
'It is completely unacceptable that, in 2015, this inflexible system is blocking access to life-extending treatments like Kadcyla.
'(These are) treatments that could give people valuable extra time with their loved ones, and help them continue to contribute to society for many months or even years.'
The cuts mean that around 800 women a year will now no longer receive Kadcyla for breast cancer (pictured)
The cuts mean that around 800 women a year will now no longer receive Kadcyla for breast cancer (pictured)
Mark Flannagan, chief executive of Beating Bowel Cancer, said: 'This is a deeply disappointing day for bowel cancer patients. Yet again we will see more and more patients being denied proven, clinically effective, internationally recognised standards of treatment.
'Nothing has changed in terms of the clinical effectiveness of these treatments.
'They remain as clinically effective now as they were when they were added to the list of funded drugs.
'We understand the financial pressures that the NHS is under, but these changes will restrict patients' ability to choose treatments that we have seen extend lives and will reduce a clinician's ability to prescribe treatments according to a patient's clinical need.' 
Myeloma UK chief executive Eric Low said: 'Myeloma UK has consistently argued that the Cancer Drugs Fund does not address why drugs are not being approved by Nice, and that the fund is not a long-term solution to underlying access issues.'
These cuts will be a hammer blow to many thousands of desperately ill cancer patients and their families
Andrew Wilson, chief executive of the Rarer Cancers Foundation
Alison Clough, acting chief executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), said the announcement was 'extremely disappointing'.
She added: 'We have long voiced the view that the Cancer Drugs Fund is a sticking plaster, albeit one that has enabled thousands of patients to access new and innovative medicines.
'We believe that the de-listing process, which we recognise will be distressing for cancer patients, could have been avoided if Nice and NHS England had transitioned earlier to a more appropriate, sustainable solution for evaluating and approving cancer medicines for routine use.'
Dr Daniel Thurley, medical director of Roche Products Limited, said: 'Although only two of our medicines were selected for re-review, Roche offered NHS England £15 million of savings, including on medicines not considered for the review, to protect all patients at risk of losing access.
'Nothing in the clinical effectiveness of our medicines has changed since NHS England last reviewed them in January. 
'No matter how much of a saving we offer, some medicines will not be retained on the Cancer Drugs Fund list from November due to NHS England's review criteria.'
Labour's shadow health minister Andrew Gwynne said: 'At the election, the Tories promised they would continue to invest in cancer drugs.
'This is yet another broken promise from a Prime Minister who can no longer be trusted on the NHS.'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3222588/Thousands-cancer-patients-denied-life-extending-drugs-NHS-funding-cuts.html#ixzz3koQ6BEKV

NWN: But the Bilderberger and Zionist Rothschild agent Cameron doesn't care about British people. He is more interested in giving British money to these migrants. £1 + billion plus, and opening the floodgates AGAIN for  even more immigrants.

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