In England, NICE to take over management of the CDF

According to a story posted yesterday on the FirstWordPharma web site, the National Health Service in England has finalized a new mechanism for management of funding for and access to selected new and development-stage drugs through the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF). This new system will clearly affect access to selected drugs under evaluation by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for the treatment of progressive and/or advanced forms of prostate cancer.

Basically, under the revised system, scheduled to start in July this year, NICE will be making decisions about which therapeutic agents are available through the CDF and who can receive them. However, as far as we are aware, there are no prostate cancer therapies currently under evaluation by NICE that would therefore be potentially eligible for coverage under the CDF.

CDF will have a fixed annual budget of £340 million (US$474 million), and NICE has stated that it’s goal will be to select drugs with “genuine promise” to receive coverage under the fund for up to 2 years while they are undergoing evaluation. The medical director at NHS England, is quoted as saying that, under this process, the CDF

will provide faster access for patients, I think that’s really important, and I think it will bring clarity to which drugs are the most effective sooner than we know at the moment.

An unnamed “NHS official” is quoted as follows:

Drug companies will need to price their drugs responsibly, and we make no apology for maintaining the pressure on this point on behalf of the public … Companies keen to work with the NHS for patients will get a new fast-track route to NHS funding for promising new drugs, backed by a speeded up and more transparent NICE assessment process.

Comments from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) suggested a less than enthusiastic perspective on this new system of management for the CDF. The pharmaceutical industry has not exactly been one of NICE’s most ardent supporters!

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