£50M Fund For Cancer Drugs Announced

Cancer patients are set to get greater access to cancer drugs recommended by their doctors as a result of a new £50 million fund, the government has announced.

Publishing a report by National Cancer Director Professor Sir Mike Richards on international variations in drug usage that shows the UK's uptake of new drugs falls behind other European countries, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, said that from October, an extra £50 million will be available to help patients get access to innovative new cancer drugs.

The funding means that cancer patients will be able to access these drugs now to help extend life or improve quality of life, ahead of longer term plans to change the way the NHS pays for drugs.

This interim measure will help those cancer patients who need access to drugs now, and precedes the Cancer Drugs Fund due to commence in April next year. Doctors will be put in charge of deciding how the funding is spent for their patients locally based on the advice of cancer specialists.

Announcing the new fund, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: "Patients should have access to innovative cancer drugs that can extend or improve their quality of life and which their doctors have recommended, which is why I'm determined to take action now. This funding will help to ensure that this happens, and that we meet the needs of cancer patients immediately while we set about our longer term plans to change the way we pay for drugs so that patients get better access to medicines and the NHS gets better value for money."

Sir Mike Richards welcomed the announcement: "This will mean that cancer patients will begin to benefit from new drugs now in advance of the main Cancer Drugs Fund which will start from April next year."

The consultation on proposals for the Cancer Drugs Fund from April 2011 will be launched later this year.


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