Gallagher, J. BBC News. Published online: 16 May 2016
In a letter to the prime minister, the charities said many drugs would “now struggle to gain approval”. The medicines regulator has rejected this and said drugs would be approved faster than anywhere else in Europe.
The dispute is over planned changes to the Cancer Drugs Fund – a special pot of money just for cancer medicines. It currently pays for innovative drugs that have been deemed too expensive for the NHS as a whole. It includes medicines such as Kadcyla, which initially cost £90,000 per patient, and extends the lives of women with breast cancer by six months on average. However, the fund was a victim of its own success and has been greatly overspent. Its costs have risen to £340m in 2015-16 from an initial annual budget of £200m when it was set up in 2011.
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