The Cancer Drugs fund (CDF) was set up in 2010 to provide funding for cancer drugs which have not been approved for NHS use England by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE). This may be because the drugs have yet to be reviewed, or that they have been reviewed, but rejected. Thus far it has provided access for one ovarian cancer drug, Avastin.
In December the CDF met to review some, but not all drugs on its list as well as to consider a number of new drugs that pharmaceutical companies had submitted for listing. For ovarian cancer the results have been very disappointing. Whilst Avastin in the first line setting was not reviewed, and therefor remains available to eligible women, Avastin’s availability for use in relapsed disease has not been approved. Similarly Trabectadin for relapsed disease is not approved. Olaparib for maintenance treatment of women with a mutation of their BRCA gene was withdrawn from the process and is therefore unavailable. It is important to note that these changes are to implemented in March, and that women currently on treatment will be able to complete the planned course.
Whilst Ovacome understand the financial challenges facing the NHS and the issues of drug costs we believe that the current appraisal system is not fit for purpose and needs urgent reform. We are working with other organisations, as well as industry and regulators to understand how fair improvements can be achieved and how women in the UK can access the latest treatments.
There remains the possibility of accessing non listed treatment via individual funding requests, and we will continue to , as we have in the past, promote awareness of these mechanisms to the clinical community.
If you have any questions or concerns please contact the Ovacome nurses on 0207 299 6650