Recent changes to the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) have been somewhat controversial. We have seen the budget increase from £200 million in 2013/14 to £280 million in 2014/15 and an estimated £340 million from April 2015, but 16 drugs (covering 25 indications) out of 84 drugs will be cut.
Peter Clark, chair of the CDF maintained that they “have been through a robust, evidence-based process to ensure the drugs available offer the best clinical benefit, getting the most for patients from every pound”. But some pharma companies and the ABPI’s, chief executive, Stephen Whitehead described the process that led to the decision as flawed.
Stephen Whitehead described the CDF as a “sticking plaster”. He believes “the solution to this issue remains the urgent reform of NICE which will ensure that the right patients get the right medicines at the right time whatever their condition.” Eric Low, chief executive of Myeloma UK labelled the CDF as a “quick-fix measure” that is not an “effective long-term solution to securing cancer patients access to medicines”.
But what do the ‘people on the ground’ think?
We used Adelphi’s comprehensive multi–relational database of key NHS contacts to find out payer’s views on this controversial topic. Here are some of the things they said:
Generally it seems that many payers think that the NHS faces huge challenges. Whilst payers are very sympathetic towards individual patients, the general consensus is that it was a tough decision that had to be made to optimise the use of finite resources.
As the general election approaches it will be interesting to see the extent to which politicians heed NHS stakeholders’ pleas for a more wholesale restructure of the NHS funding process.