Extra Government money has been pledged to enable cancer patients to access more expensive drugs.
The additional £50 million is in line with a promised fund for April 2011, and will now be available from October this year, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said.
The acceleration of the money comes after international drug usage was reviewed by the Department of Health cancer director Mike Richards. He found that the UK’s willingness to use newer, dearer drugs to treat cancer lags behind other countries.
In a written statement, Mr Lansley said: “The findings in this report make it even more important that Government does everything it can to remove barriers to doctors prescribing the cancer drugs they think will help their NHS patients.”
He added: “This Government is committed to ensuring that cancer patients no longer have to worry about whether they will be able to get the cancer drugs their doctors recommend from the NHS.”
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence said earlier this year that the NHS should not be prescribing the more expensive drugs – medication which may have helped prolong the life of as many as 16,000 terminally ill cancer victims.
Copyright Press Association 2010