Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF)

I know that NHS England recently made some changes to which drugs are available through the CDF. The changes were based on the advice of clinicians and the best available evidence, to ensure that NHS resources are spent on the best drugs that make the biggest difference to patients. Advances in medical science mean that new medicines are emerging all the time and the Government wants people to have access to the very latest drugs. That is why experts have to make decisions to stop routinely funding drugs with limited clinical benefit, to fund new and better drugs that offer more to patients.

I believe that it is important to provide the NHS with a more systematic approach to achieving the best price for cancer drugs, meaning more treatments can be made available, and giving a greater focus on evaluation, leading to the best drugs progressing swiftly to routine commissioning.

I appreciate this may cause concern, but let me reassure you that any patient currently receiving a drug through the CDF will continue to receive it. Furthermore, no drug will be removed where it is the only treatment available for a specific condition and individual applications can be made for access to any cancer drug.

I understand that NHS England and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have sought views on a proposed new system for commissioning cancer drugs and will publish a consultation response in due course.

The Government remains committed to raising the cancer survival rate in Britain to be the best in Europe.