A cancer drugs fund worth up to £200m a year has been established in the UK to improve patient access to recommended cancer medications.

The fund, announced by UK Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, follows the coalition government’s commitment to increase access to innovative cancer medications.

The fund will operate from April 2011 to the end of March 2014, as dictated in the recent spending review.

A fund for £50m has also been made available for the period between October 2010 and the end of March 2011, with clinically led panels now established in each region of the UK to put doctors in charge of deciding how the funding is spent for their patients.

All drugs recommended as clinically and cost effective by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence will continue to be funded by the NHS.