Pharmaceutical company Roche calls for an urgent re-assessment of cancer drug approvals in the UK as the new Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) comes into effect within the country.
The new CDF has been initiated by the collaboration of National Health Service (NHS) England, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), Public Health England and the UK Department of Health.
Under the new CDF, all types of cancer drugs or indications expected to receive a marketing authorisation will be appraised by NICE.
CDA has replaced the previous fund, which closed on 31 March this year after it had come under unsustainable financial pressure.
Roche UK general manager Richard Erwin said that cancer patients in England will face an uncertain future with the initiation of CDF.
Erwin said: “More than 10,000 patients had access to 39 indications treating more than ten different types of cancer, including blood, breast, colorectal, kidney and lung cancer in 2014 / 2015, the year before these indications were de-listed from the CDF.
“Now that the assessment of new cancer medicines for reimbursement has been returned to NICE, we must, as a matter of urgency, address the challenge they have in assessing the real clinical value of cancer treatments, which necessitated the creation of the original CDF in 2010.”
A total of 37 indications remain on the CDF and will be reviewed by NICE.
Based on their cost-effectiveness, ten of the 37 indications have already been rejected for NHS use under the current unreformed appraisal system.
According to the pharmaceutical company, the rejection could include the medicines that the doctors believed to be effective for the treatment of thousands of their cancer patients.
Roche has approached the UK Government to review NICE’s assessment methodology in a bid to stop patients facing continuous anxiety related to the availability of existing and new cancer medicines.
Erwin added: “We have made five cancer medicines available to UK patients in the last three years and have 70 new molecular entities in our pipeline but, under the current system, they may never reach the patients they are designed for.”
The company believes that the assessment criteria of NICE should be reformed in order to accept the flexible pricing and assessment arrangements.
Roche will continue to work with NICE to ensure that cancer patients have access to the best medicines in the market.