Cancer fund reprieve for just one drug, Regorafenib

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The Cancer Drugs Fund in England will continue to pay for a stomach cancer drug after an appeal by the manufacturer.

The fund, which pays for drugs not routinely available on the NHS, has cut the number of treatments offered in order to balance the books.

Four appeals were subsequently rejected, but Regorafenib will now continue to be offered on the scheme.

Charities had criticised the decision to remove the other drugs.

All the drugs on the Cancer Drugs Fund have been rejected by the NHS as a whole for not being cost-effective.

Meanwhile NHS England announced that this fund was due to go £100m over budget in 2014-15.

In a large review of how the fund operated, NHS England decided to continue paying for only 59 of the 84 treatments it had previously offered as recently as January.

At the same time, three new drugs were added to the scheme.

Many of the companies who had drugs removed from the list appealed against the decisions, and five drugs were reappraised.

As a result just one, Regorafenib which is developed by Bayer, will now continue to be offered.

Prof Peter Clark, the chairman of the fund, said: "We have been through a robust, evidence-based process to ensure the drugs available through the Cancer Drugs Fund continue to offer the best clinical benefit, getting the most for patients from every pound that we have.

"These are difficult decisions, but if we don't continue to prioritise the drugs that offer the best value, many people could miss out on promising, more effective treatments that are in the pipeline."

Olaparib, an ovarian cancer therapy, will not be funded on the scheme.

Katherine Taylor, from Ovarian Cancer Action, said: "Women living with ovarian cancer deserve the right to have access to effective, proven treatments.

"We strongly urge NHS England to make this ground-breaking treatment available to the patients who so desperately need it."

Paul Catchpole, from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, said: "The ABPI believes that the CDF re-evaluation process is fundamentally flawed and the CDF remains a sticking plaster covering a seeping wound.

"A sustainable solution is urgently required."

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