The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has responded to the rollout of the new Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) that has gone live today with an annual fixed budget of £340 million in 2016/17.
Key features of the new system include:
Dr Paul Catchpole, ABPI's Director of Value and Access said:
"The new Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) is a welcome step in the right direction for researchers, developers and manufacturers of cancer medicines, and is good news for the NHS and patients.
By joining the dots between NICE and NHS England to ensure medicines are made available during periods of evidence collection and further analysis, drugs companies who provide access to the latest innovations in oncology, and patients, should eventually both benefit from a more simplified process. However given the hold up in the cancer medicines pipeline that has existed for more than a year, the early litmus test of the new CDF will be a measurable improvement in faster access and uptake.
Beyond this fundamentally important and welcome change, it's clear that further evolution of NICE is required, without which we may see the clock set back on access to innovation.
We will continue to be at risk of seeing more medicines routinely turned down for use unless there is greater flexibility in NICE's core appraisal process. This is particularly the case for medicines targeted at smaller patient populations – such as those for rarer types of cancers – that we know get routinely held back under the current 'one size fits all' system.
In addition, under the new CDF, companies will have to commit, in advance, to bearing 100% of future financial risk if the new Fund overspends its budget. Given the fact that the old Fund consistently overspent significantly on its allocated budget, and that industry already underwrites the majority of expenditure on branded medicines over and above agreed levels, we must work towards a fairer and more equitable system of financial risk. Without this, there remains the concern that much needed medicines may not make their way to market.
Positive outcomes for many cancer patients in the UK still lags behind many other developed European economies – and whilst some survival rates have improved over recent years, they continue to do so at a slower rate in the UK. Let us now seize this momentum and work together to speed-up medical progress for UK patients."
Notes to editors
For more information and background read, 'Will the new CDF provide a better deal for cancer patients?' by Dr Paul Catchpole, published on Monday 11 July.
ABPI Press Office
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About the ABPI
The ABPI represents innovative research-based biopharmaceutical companies, large, medium and small, leading an exciting new era of biosciences in the UK.
Our industry, a major contributor to the economy of the UK, brings life-saving and life-enhancing medicines to patients. We represent companies supplying around 90 per cent of all medicines used by the NHS, and are researching and developing the majority of the current medicines pipeline, ensuring that the UK remains at the forefront of helping patients prevent and overcome diseases.
The ABPI is recognised by government as the industry body negotiating on behalf of the branded pharmaceutical industry, for statutory consultation requirements including the pricing scheme for medicines in the UK.