Tensions with pharma run high as UK's Cancer Drugs Fund cuts expenses
- While the UK has long depended on the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) to pay for oncology treatments that are not covered under the National Health Services, the CDF is overwhelmed and cutting back—much to the chagrin of the British Pharmaceutical Industry and others, the Wall Street Journal reports.
- There are 43 cancer drugs covered by the CDF.
- The position of the CDF is that its ability to fund drugs without putting additional parameters in place is unsustainable and too expensive.
The idea of a state-sponsored health care system that can accommodate universal coverage of every treatment and therapy available isn't exactly tethered to reality—now more than ever, as expensive cancer therapies are approved and brought to market.
In the UK, the National Health Services funds medicines. However, the National Institute of Care and Excellence (NICE) functions as a "watchdog" to ensure that clinical benefits, costs, and alternative options are carefully vetted before a decision is made to approve a treatment.
The CDF has traditionally functioned as a fall-back option, when NHS coverage is not available. But even fall-back options have limits, and the pharma industry is now being forced to grapple with those limits.