Five cancer drugs have been reinstated on the list paid for by England’s Cancer Drugs Fund, after manufacturers provided discounts to make them more affordable.
The fund faces rising costs, and in September it announced the removal of 16 drugs used in 23 treatments, in an attempt to balance its books.1 Thanks to the new deal it has now been able to reinstate five, used in seven treatments, reducing the number of patients in England who would have been denied access to the drugs from 5500 to 4100.
Among the reprieved drugs is trastuzumab (Kadcyla), a Roche product capable of extending the life of patients with advanced breast cancer by six months. Its original price was £90 000 (€130 000; $140 000) a year, well above the normal threshold for drugs used at the end of life of around £50 000 per quality adjusted life year. The size of the discount offered has not been disclosed.
The other reinstated drugs are bevacizumab (Avastin), but only for cervical cancer, not for bowel or breast cancer; bosutinib (Bosulif) for chronic myeloid leukaemia; ibrutinib (Imbruvica) for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and for mantle cell lymphoma; and brentuximab (Adcetris) for two types of lymphoma.