No Cancer Drugs Fund for Wales

 The Welsh Government has decided not to adopt a Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF), but rather to rely on existing mechanisms to ensure patient access to cancer therapies.

Health Minister Lesley Griffiths said the fund, currently used in England to ensure patient access to non-approved medicines, was at odds with an “evidence-based” approach.

He also claimed that early diagnosis, surgery and radiotherapy were all higher priorities for cancer patients.

Speaking to the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group, Griffiths said: “A Cancer Drugs Fund would not be in the best interests of people in Wales. We already have robust mechanisms in place to ensure access to non-approved medicines is consistent for patients in exceptional circumstances.”

More contentiously, Griffiths claimed: “There is no evidence a Cancer Drugs Fund improves the quality of life or survival rates.” It would undermine the Group’s attempts “to deliver evidence-based advice on new treatments,” he argued.

“The available evidence does show survival is more closely linked to early diagnosis while surgery and radiotherapy are more likely to influence survival, and it is on these issues we should focus.”

The CDF allocates £200m per year to the NHS for 2012 and 2013 to ensure individual patient access to certain non-approved drugs prior to the introduction of value-based pricing at the end of 2013.