In a joint letter written with other leading cancer charities published in The Daily Telegraph on 19 January 2015, we raised the concern that the drug appraisal and funding systems are failing cancer patients:
The establishment of an additional Cancer Drugs Fund was a clear sign that the current system for the effective and efficient commissioning of cancer drugs in England was failing to achieve its objectives. Now even this additional pot is crumbling under demand and the high cost of cancer drugs, and the knee-jerk reaction has been to save money by re-evaluating the availability of these drugs, regardless of need. The harsh truth is that cancer patients are paying the price for a system in meltdown. We refuse to tolerate such an appalling situation.
The number of people living with cancer is predicted to reach a record level this year in the UK. A long-term plan, for more sustainable and effective drug funding and appraisal systems in all parts of the UK is urgently required. Only this way, with the full cooperation of manufacturers, will the health service be able to cope with demand and meet the needs of people affected by cancer.
Cancer charities are uniting behind this common goal and will be working closely with NHS England, the Department of Health, NICE and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) over the coming months to develop a better process for commissioning cancer drugs. We will not rest until we get the system that is right for cancer patients now and in the future.