Cancer Drugs Fund

The Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) is a source of funding for cancer drugs in England. On 29 July 2016, a new approach to the appraisal and funding of cancer drugs in England began operating.

To see which treatments are currently funded by the CDF, please see the Cancer Drugs Fund list.

For further information on provider reimbursement for CDF funded treatments, please see the provider reimbursement in managed access funds – standard operating procedure.

This new approach provides:

  • Access to promising new treatments, via managed access arrangement, while further evidence is collected to address clinical uncertainty.
  • Interim funding for all newly recommended cancer drugs, giving patients access to these treatments many months earlier than before.

NHS England and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) work in partnership with pharmaceutical companies to address uncertainty about the effectiveness of new cancer treatments. This usually involves the collection of additional data, during a managed access period when patients are able to access the treatment. The additional data helps NICE to decide whether a new treatment should be routinely funded.

The new approach provides earlier access to treatments. The NICE appraisal process now starts much earlier, to enable final guidance to be published soon after a drug received its license. In addition, all cancer drugs that are recommended for either routine or CDF managed access funding are funded from the very first positive recommendations from NICE – usually the Final Appraisal Determination (FAD) – which provides patients with access to new treatments much earlier than before.

The expenditure control mechanism ensures that the CDF will not overspend. This ensures that the fund remains open to eligible new patients. For the latest update on CDF activity and spend, please see the CDF Activity Update.

The CDF delivers a range of benefits, including:

  • Earlier access for patients to the most promising new treatments.
  • A new fast-track NICE process for companies to apply for appraisals.
  • Clearer and faster decision-making about which cancer drugs are available.
  • All new cancer drugs, and significant new licensed indications for cancer drugs, are referred to NICE for appraisal.
  • Financial certainty with a fixed budget and a mechanism to control expenditure.
  • Patient access, while uncertainty about a drug’s effectiveness can be assessed through data collection.
  • Greater flexibility from NHS England in the deals agreed with the pharmaceutical industry to encourage the responsible pricing of cancer drugs.

If you need any more information about the CDF, please email the Cancer Drugs Fund team.