NHS England consults on plans for a sustainable Cancer Drugs Fund

NHS England is proposing changes to the way its Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) operates, in order that it delivers maximum benefit for patients, within the resources available.

Clinicians and cancer specialists believe the changes, if adopted, would:

  • improve patient access to the most clinically effective drugs available through the fund;
  • encourage pricing that delivers value for money for patients and the public; and
  • put the fund on a much firmer footing for the future, as it faces increasing demand and growing financial pressure.

NHS England will publicly consult for four weeks on a number of proposals, which include – for the first time – the consideration of the cost of cancer drugs, when deciding whether a drug should be available or not on the national cancer drug fund list.

The consultation, which opens today, follows NHS England’s announcement in August of a £160m boost for the CDF over two years.

While the extra funding will go some way to supporting the future sustainability of the fund, clinicians and cancer specialists were clear that effective new treatments could only be added to the national list, if drugs of limited clinical benefit were removed.

Re-evaluation of the current list of drugs is just one of the proposed changes to the fund’s Standard Operating Procedure.