A new report by Cancer Research UK has revealed that 75% of cancer treatments, which were previously only accessible through the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF), are currently available for patients on the National Health Service (NHS) England.
German pharmaceutics company Bayer’s liver cancer treatment sorafenib (Nexavar) is the latest drug that has been made available to some patients with advanced disease on the NHS.
The use of nexavar has been approved following draft recommendations from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the UK.
The Bayer treatment is estimated to increase the life of some patients by an average of three months.
To date, 18 out of 24 cancer treatments on the CDF have been reviewed and approved for routine NHS use, while six more drugs are in the process of being approved.
According to the new CDF, the treatments will be made available for a period of two years, during which the concerned pharmaceutical companies will be required to collect additional evidence in order to prove the effectiveness of the drugs.
NICE Centre for Health Technology Evaluation director Carole Longson said that the drugs watchdog was flexible in cases where the treatments demonstrated effectiveness, enabling patients’ access to the medicines while further clinical data is generated through the new CDF.
Cancer Research UK senior policy adviser Rose Gray said: “We will continue to monitor how changes to the CDF are impacting patients to ensure they are able to access the best, evidence-based treatments.”
Image: 18 out of 24 drugs on the CDF have been reviewed and approved for routine NHS use for cancer patients. Photo: courtesy of Cancer Research UK.