Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF)

Executive Summary

The Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) provides resources in order to accelerate provision of treatments for cancer, and bridge the gaps which may slow new drugs reaching market.

Initially introduced in 2011 as a stop-gap measure to provide for drugs for rare cancers, the CDF ended up acting as an indefinite source of funding for medicines deemed cost-ineffective by NICE, and costs spiralled.

In 2016 it was reformed as a managed-access fund. Drugs with clinical potential can be provided temporarily using the CDF, in cases where either NICE is yet to issue final Guidance, or where there is insufficient evidence for a proper assessment.

Crucially, the decision to provide any CDF funding is taken by NICE (with arrangements being negotiated with NHS England), so the CDF no longer acts as an alternative channel to NICE approval. CDF funding is granted, where appropriate, at the conclusion of NICE Technology Appraisals meaning that it is now effectively an HTA outcome rather than an HTA process.

MAP’s CDF page provides detail on CDF and how to apply, including detailed process flowcharts, a guide to CDF provision through Managed Access Agreements, and insights from our previous experiences.