The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) says it is now at the half-way point of its requested review of drugs, approved and still available only through the old Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF).
In all cases so far where the cost-effectiveness watchdog for England and Wales has been able to make recommendations for routine National Health Service (NHS) use, companies have reviewed and reduced their prices, and in some cases provided clearer evidence.
The NICE is appraising 24 drugs, across 33 cancer indications that have been supplied to patients who applied for conditional funding through the CDF.
New guidance published today recommends cetuximab and panitumumab, for bowel cancer, move from the CDF into routine use. This means so far 14 drugs (across 18 indications) have received approval for routine NHS use.
The remaining drugs are in the process of being appraised and no drugs have received a final negative decision.
“Companies are cooperating well with our reviews and the good news for patients is that more cancer drugs than ever are being recommended for routine use.” Said Sir Andrew Dillon, chief executive of the NICE, adding: “As drugs move off the CDF, we free up funding for new drugs coming down the pipeline, so patients will have faster access to promising cancer drugs and the NHS makes the most of its resources.”
Breast Cancer Now says major flaws exist in NICE process
Commenting on the latest news from the NICE, Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive of the charity Breast Cancer Now, said: “While we need companies to play their part in ensuring patients get the drugs they need through more responsible pricing, we believe there are major flaws in the NICE process which may block new and more novel drugs coming through.”
She continued: “We desperately hope to be proven wrong, but all indicators to date suggest this system is not fit for purpose in assessing modern cancer drugs. We need the government to initiate wholescale reform to this process, otherwise revolutionary new breast cancer treatments being made available in other countries will pass NHS patients by.”