Politics: NHS cancer drugs fund to be restricted

Will MS escape the beady eyes of the NHS cost-cutters? #MSPolitics #MSBlog

“It is clear that socialist Britain is falling apart. The budget deficit is not getting any smaller; national debt remains a problem and the political parties are scratching their heads about how to balance the books. More taxation vs. more cuts. Is it surprising that expensive cancer drugs are getting the chop? MSers and all the relevant stakeholders will find the following BBC news report very concerning. MS is a high-cost disease and it is only a matter of time before the bean counters have MS in their sites. What will the restrictions look like? Will they limit prescribing by delaying access to DMTs or will they implement more stringent starting and stopping criteria? Will they cull MRI monitoring and allow a generation of MSers to smolder? The economic and political environment looks dark and gray for people with chronic diseases living in the UK and Europe. This is why we need the means to fight politically; if we don’t who will fight our corner?”

James Gallagher (Health editor). Cancer Drugs Fund to be restricted – says NHS. BBC News website12 November 2014. 


…. Some life-saving cancer medicines are likely to be removed from the list of expensive drugs paid for out of a special fund set up by the prime minster….

…. The Cancer Drugs Fund was designed to give patients in England access to effective treatments deemed too expensive for hospitals to fund….

…. But now the fund will introduce price restrictions for the first time and 42 drugs are being reassessed…..

….. The £200m-a-year Cancer Drugs Fund has been used by about 55,000 people…..

….. It has faced money problems and was overspent by £30m last year……

About the author

Prof G

Professor of Neurology, Barts & The London. MS & Preventive Neurology thinker, blogger, runner, vegetable gardener, husband, father, cook and wine & food lover.


  • MRI monitoring!! are you having a laugh?

    I agree that this news should be ringing lots of alarm bels for people with MS. We are on expensive treatment, with pretty low efficacy

  • Yes, you can't even say it's a party political issue: remember it was the other lot who brought ATOS to the UK and I have yet to hear a Labour politician decry the PIP process, except to say it's too slow. Stuffed from all sides, I fear.

    • And some of us remember the collection buckets outside hospitals in the '80s as there were no scanners. I also remember people that weren't ill being moved to incapacity benefit to bring down the unemployment figures. Those of us that had MS, worked and paid our taxes are the SPMSers that have never had access to expensive drugs and are now being demonised by this allegedly NHS loving Government. I've no regrets, but someone tell the Politicians we are not scroungers, we're just unlucky to have MS.

  • This is also surely a question of very expensive cancer drugs that extend lives by a number of months, but unfortunately do not cure versus expensive MS drugs for which long term outcomes are required but seem to be lacking due to the timescales required for the studies. Was there not however a study that showed that those treated initially with beta interferon had a lower risk of death than those in the placebo arm of the initial trials? I assume if this could be quantified it would be an extremely compelling argument for using and paying for MS drugs, especially if that long life is lived with less disability, given that disability is more expensive to the health system than death.

By Prof G



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