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A pharmacy group has warned that the £50 million cancer drugs fund, set up to pay for expensive new treatments for patients whose primary care trusts will not pay for medication, will not meet the demand placed upon it.
The fund is likely to face demand of between £84.9 million and £119.3 million in its first six months, according to the Cancer Network Pharmacists Forum.
Meeting the recurring costs of cases approved by the fund could cost the NHS between £364.3 million and £524 million in the financial year 2011–2012, the group claimed in a report, adding that the estimates did not include the figure for any new drugs.
The group, which is a member of the British Oncology Pharmacy Association, said the regional clinically led panels (CLPs) that will decide which patients can have their treatment paid for by the fund will face significant challenges.
It added: “The CLPs may have to deny access to some treatments, and make decisions about populations of patients rather than individuals – both of which may be contrary to the expectation of patients and clinicians.”
Copyright Press Association 2010