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  1. ITV Report

Key cancer drugs to be axed from NHS fund

Over a dozen drugs will be taken off the list. Credit: Reuters

Key cancer drugs aimed at extending the lives of patients will be axed from an NHS list on Friday because of cuts to the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF).

NHS England are to remove over a dozen drugs from the list.

More than 5,500 patients will miss out on the life-extending treatments, charity the Rarer Cancers Foundation has warned.

The foundation said the decision to remove more than a dozen drugs from the list dealt a "hammer blow" to desperately ill patients and their families.

It will affect many patients with a range of cancers, including breast cancer and multiple myeloma.

The full list of drugs to be taken off the list are:

  • Abraxane - used to treat pancreatic cancer.
  • Avastin - used to treat cervical, breast and bowel cancers.
  • Bendamustine - used to treat patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
  • Bevacizumab - used to treat metastatic colorectal cancer.
  • Bortezomib - for treatment of relapsed multiple myeloma.
  • Bosutinib - used to treat leukaemia.
  • Cabazitaxel - used to re-treat prostate cancer.
  • Cetuximab - used to treat metastatic colorectal cancer.
  • Dasatinib - used to treat leukaemia.
  • Everolimus - used to treat pancreatic cancer.
  • Kadcyla/Eribulin - used to treat breast cancer.
  • Lapatinib - used to treat advanced breast cancer.
  • Ofatumumab - used to treat lumphatic leukaemia.
  • Pazopanib - used to treat soft-tissue sarcoma.
  • Pemetrexed - used to treat lung cancers.
  • Pegylated liposomal doxorubicin - used to treat angiosarcoma and sarcomas of the heart.
Among drugs to be taken off the list include those that are used for breast cancer and bowel cancer treatments. Credit: VMS

NHS England announced earlier this year that it was cutting the number of drugs on the list in a bid to balance the books.

Cancer charities have voiced their disappointment at denying cancer patients potentially life-extending treatments.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now called for the government to take leadership on this issue and hold the pharmaceutical industry to account.

This is a dreadful day for breast cancer patients. Kadcyla is a one-of-a-kind drug proven to extend life, and the fact is that because government, the NHS and the pharmaceutical industry have failed to agree realistic prices for new drugs, some women will die sooner.

– Baroness Delyth Morgan, CEO Breast Cancer Now

Another charity - Beating Bowel Cancer - has said that the the scope for patients to make choices about their treatments will be restricted.

By taking away from tomorrow’s cancer patients what is available today, we are effectively taking a step backwards for cancer treatment in this county compared to other countries in Europe and the world.

– Mark Flannagan, CEO Beating Bowel Cancer

The CDF was launched in 2011 by Prime Minister David Cameron, who said patients should no longer be denied drugs on cost grounds.

The NHS spends approximately £1.3 billion annually on the provision of cancer drugs within routine commissioning. The CDF was established as an additional funding source to this.

Due to demand, the fund has continuously gone over its initial £200 million annual budget.

The Government pledged extra cash in January to make the fund now worth £340 million a year.

Also in January, NHS England said it would continue to pay for only 59 of the 84 treatments it had previously offered.

One de-listed drug, regorafenib, was put back on the list in May following an appeal.

Patients now using drugs that are de-listed will continue to get them, but new patients will not.