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Expensive cancer drugs now available to patients

28 July 2010

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Cancer drugs that have been recommended by doctors but were deemed too expensive to be given out on the NHS are finally being made available to patients, it has been announced.

An extra £50m is being made available from October this year by the government to kickstart their proposed cancer drugs fund six months early.

Expensive medicines that could have extended the life of up to 16,000 terminally-ill cancer patients were rejected by the NHS drugs watchdog NICE earlier this year.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said on Tuesday in a ministerial statement that the money has been found “from a review of Department of Health central budgets”.

The Health Secretary 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 findings in a review by national cancer director Professor Sir Mike Richards, which discovered that the UK is behind other countries with regard to newer cancer drugs, make it “even more important” that the drugs are made available, Mr Lansley said.

He added that the funding will “remove barriers to doctors prescribing the cancer drugs they think will help their NHS patients”.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

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