NHS England releases update to national Cancer Drugs Fund list

NHS England has released an update to the national Cancer Drugs Fund list, further increasing access for patients to an additional three new cancer drugs.

The additions to the list have been made following a review of trial data from the drugs by the Chemotherapy Clinical Reference Group (CRG), one of 74 such groups which provide clinical advice to NHS England regarding a range of specialised services.

The additions, which are all targeted drugs for specific cancers, are:

  • Trastuzumab Emtansine: for patients with breast cancer
  • Radium-223 Dichloride:(this document is no longer available here but can be found on the National Archives website) for patients with prostate cancer
  • Dabrafenib: for patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma

No drugs were removed from the list.

The Chemotherapy CRG is working closely with clinicians and representatives of the pharmaceutical industry to ensure a rapid review process for new drugs that may be appropriate for inclusion on the Cancer Drugs Fund list.  The review process looks at the available evidence regarding a drug’s efficacy, plus data relating to its safety.

Professor Peter Clark, Chair of the Chemotherapy CRG, said: “These new additions to the list demonstrate NHS England’s commitment to achieving maximum benefit to patients from the annual £200 million Cancer Drugs Fund.

“The process of updating the list is led by cancer specialists, and should ensure that patients benefit quickly when new drugs become available that are backed by good evidence from trial data.”

The Cancer Drugs Fund provides an additional £200m each year to enable patients with cancer in England to access drugs that are not routinely funded by their local NHS. The national Cancer Drugs Fund list is a single national list of approved fast-track drugs giving uniform access to treatment across the country.  From 1 April 2013, NHS England took on responsibility for the operational management of the Cancer Drugs Fund, creating for the first time a single national system for deciding which drugs are available and for which conditions.

The most recent panel meeting, which was originally scheduled for December 2013 was deferred until the New Year to allow the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS) negotiations between the Department of Health and the industry to complete and for NHS England to determine any impact any new pricing agreements might have on the Cancer Drugs Fund.

NHS England wants to make sure the clinical panel has all of the relevant information available to make informed decisions.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Cancer affects the lives of millions of people and their families, and the Cancer Drugs Fund provides vital access to life-extending or improving treatments.

“Better access to effective medicine is a priority for the government, and we are delighted that these new drugs will mean more patients will join over 38,000 cancer sufferers who have already benefitted from the fund.”


  1. Nivolumab says:

    Please could you advise me as to whether. This drug above is available on cancer drug fund or if you could recommend something for advanced stage 4 lung cancer (non small cell).

    • NHS England says:

      Hi, thank you for you comment.

      Nivolumab isn’t licensed or commercially available for use in any indication yet as it is still being investigated in early trials. Other therapies are available to treat advanced NSCLC via normal NHS routes or via the CDF but should be recommended on the basis of an individual patients history and specific diagnosis. Therefore we would recommend discussion of suitable treatment options in specific cases with an oncologist.

      Kind Regards
      NHS England