England’s Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) is poor value for money and may be exposing patients to unnecessary harm, concludes new research published in the Annals of Oncology.
The CDF was set up initially as a temporary fund to provide patients with access to cancer drugs not routinely available through the NHS. As such, it was never intended to run as long as it has and is now being questioned as to how much value is it actually providing.
Between its launch and the time it was merged into NICE processes as a managed access fund in July 2016, the CDF cost the UK taxpayer £1.27 billion.
But looking at the 29 drugs cleared for use through the CDF in January 2015 for 47 cancer indications, researchers from King’s College London and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine found that just 18 (38%) had shown an overall survival (OS) benefit in clinical trials, with a median of 3.2 months of OS provided.
“The Fund was only ever intended as a sticking plaster to enable patients to access effective modern cancer drugs while the significant flaws in the NICE appraisal process were fixed. But, unfortunately, no effective reform has been forthcoming.” (Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive at Breast Cancer Now)