Minister rejects cancer fund

A petition with nearly 100,000 signatures has called on the Welsh Government to set up a cancer drugs fund but the health minister has said it would be unethical, unpopular and lacking clinical support

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Cancer fund "not ethical" says minister

Health minister Mark Drakeford has said the demand in a 100,000 signature petition for a Welsh Cancer Drugs Fund will be rejected. He told AMs that it was a scheme that lacked clinical support and was neither ethical nor popular with the public in England where there is a fund.

His Conservative Shadow, Darren Millar, held up the petition in the Senedd and claimed that it proved that there was a popular demand for the fund. He said it was an obvious injustice to the people of Wales and that in England patients were securing better clinical outcomes as a result of their access to cancer drugs.

I'd rather rely on the chair of the Cancer Drugs Fund in England, who wrote to the Chief Executive of NHS England to say that there were drugs being prescribed by the fund which neither effective nor cost-effective. People [in Wales] who will benefit from drugs get those drugs, nearly half the applications result in that drug being made available.

– Health Minister Mark Drakeford AM

The minister has also announced that he's strengthening the system for giving Welsh patients access to innovative medicines not routinely available on the NHS. The Individual Patient Funding Request process is used when a doctor applies for a drug that will benefit a patient because of exceptional clinical circumstances. Mr Drakeford said there will be greater consistency in whether or not requests are granted.

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