£1.3bn fund that provided unproven and costly cancer drugs on the NHS was ‘a waste of money’
A £1.3BILLION fund that provided unproven and expensive cancer drugs on the NHS was a waste of money, a study says.
Most treatments doled out through the Cancer Drugs Fund gave no benefit.
The 29 available in January 2015 extended life in only 18 of 47 cancers by 3.2 months on average. Just nine were deemed worthwhile after side-effects were considered, the study found.
The CDF was set up in 2011 after pressure from patients refused drugs by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) due to price or effectiveness.
It closed in 2016 and was yesterday branded a “costly saga”.
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Professor Richard Sullivan, who worked on the study at King’s College London, said: “The CDF has not delivered meaningful value to patients or society. It seemed to be a nice quick fix but it wasn’t properly scrutinised or thought through.”
He said cash would have been better spent on screening, diagnosis and proven treatments.
A “new-look” CDF was launched last July. It provides access to new drugs for a limited time when NICE believes they may not work, or cost too much.
Prof Sullivan added: “This addresses some of the problems with the old CDF, namely the fund would no longer support the provision of drugs that have been appraised but not recommended by Nice.
“It still provides funding for new drugs awaiting Nice appraisal that have potential benefit.
“However, the issue here is one of fairness. Why should cancer medicines be treated in this way, and not all medicines and indeed all technologies?”