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£50m drugs fund for cancer patients

Cancer patients will be allowed access to more medication, thanks to the early introduction of a £50m drugs fund, the Health Secretary has confirmed.

Drugs thought to be too expensive to be given out on the NHS, but recommended by doctors, will be made available through the extra money.

The drugs fund will be brought in by the coalition government in October - six months earlier than it had initially pledged.

It follows a review of international variations in drug use from National Cancer Director, Professor Sir Mike Richards, which found that the UK lags behind other countries with regard to newer cancer drugs.

"The findings in this report make it even more important that government does everything it can to remove barriers to doctors prescribing the cancer drugs they think will help their NHS patients," Mr Lansley said in a written ministerial statement.

The money has been found "from a review of Department of Health central budgets", the Health Secretary said, adding: "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."

Earlier this year, a report found that the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) had rejected expensive medicines that could have extended the lives of up to 16,000 terminally ill cancer patients.

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