Cancer Drugs Fund to axe key treatments


More than 5,500 patients will miss out on life-extending cancer treatment as a result of cuts to the Cancer Drugs Fund, a charity has warned.

The Rarer Cancers Foundation said the decision by NHS England to remove more than a dozen drugs from the list dealt a "hammer blow" to desperately ill patients and their families.

Among the drugs de-listed are those to treat breast cancer, multiple myeloma, bowel cancer, pancreatic cancer, cervical cancer and leukaemia.

Abraxane to treat pancreatic cancer has been removed, alongside Kadcyla for breast cancer and Avastin for cervical cancer, breast cancer and bowel cancer.

According to manufacturer Roche, around 800 women a year will now no longer receive Kadcyla.

Andrew Wilson, chief executive of the Rarer Cancers Foundation, said: "These cuts will be a hammer blow to many thousands of desperately ill cancer patients and their families.

"It is deeply disappointing that NHS England has pressed ahead with knee jerk cuts to the Cancer Drugs Fund before introducing the reforms to Nice that are so urgently required.

"Ministers told us they wanted to work with charities to develop a solution but now the NHS has announced big reductions in access to existing life-extending treatment, with no action to make available the newest game-changing drugs. This is a complete breach of faith."

Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive at Breast Cancer Now, said: "This is a dreadful day for breast cancer patients.

"Kadcyla is a one-of-a-kind drug proven to extend life, and the fact is that because Government, the NHS and the pharmaceutical industry have failed to agree realistic prices for new drugs, some women will die sooner.

"Despite many families relying on it, the CDF has unfortunately failed, and today's de-listing will further reduce the NHS's ability to keep pace with Europe in the treatment of breast cancer."

Samia al Qadhi, chief executive of Breast Cancer Care, said: "This devastating decision will mean shattered hopes for thousands of women who could have been helped by these drugs.

"It is completely unacceptable that, in 2015, this inflexible system is blocking access to life-extending treatments like Kadcyla.

"(These are) treatments that could give people valuable extra time with their loved ones, and help them continue to contribute to society for many months or even years."

Mark Flannagan, chief executive of Beating Bowel Cancer, said: "This is a deeply disappointing day for bowel cancer patients. Yet again we will see more and more patients being denied proven, clinically effective, internationally recognised standards of treatment.

"Nothing has changed in terms of the clinical effectiveness of these treatments.

"They remain as clinically effective now as they were when they were added to the list of funded drugs.

"We understand the financial pressures that the NHS is under, but these changes will restrict patients' ability to choose treatments that we have seen extend lives and will reduce a clinician's ability to prescribe treatments according to a patient's clinical need."