ARTICLE | Politics & Policy

U.K. releases cancer fund proposals

October 28, 2010 12:09 AM UTC

The U.K. Department of Health published a consultation document outlining proposals to establish the previously planned Cancer Drugs Fund. The fund is intended to give patients access to cancer drugs that would not otherwise be available on the NHS, including drugs appraised by NICE but not recommended based on cost-effectiveness and drugs not, or not yet, appraised by NICE. However, the consultation includes language that suggests the fund should not cover drugs that NICE hasn't appraised because the manufacturer refused to provide evidence for an appraisal. The document noted that by continuing to appraise new cancer drugs, NICE will ensure companies will have an incentive to offer prices that represent value rather than relying on the fund to pick up new drugs. Comments on the proposals are due by Jan. 19, 2011. The fund is expected to launch in April.

BioCentury counts at least eight appraisals since 2008 that have been terminated by NICE due to manufacturers not submitting evidence, including two announced on Wednesday. The agency ended appraisals for Torisel temsirolimus from Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) to treat mantle cell lymphoma (MCL); and Levact bendamustine from Mundipharma International Ltd. (Cambridge, U.K.) to treat indolent non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) refractory to rituximab or rituximab-containing regimens. ...