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Welsh patients less likely to get rare cancer drugs

Welsh patients are more than four times less likely to get newer cancer drugs on the NHS than people in England, a charity has claimed. 

Figures obtained by the Rarer Cancers Foundation (RCF) show difficulty in accessing certain medications, judging by the number of individual patient funding requests (IPFRs) in Wales. 

According to the charity, the drugs would be available through England's cancer drugs fund. 

Two cancer drugs in particular - bevacizumab and cetuximab - accounted for more than 100% of the IFPR drug requests in Wales. 

Andrew Wilson, chief executive of the Foundation said: “The Welsh government's own figures reveal the extent of inequality in access to cancer drugs in Wales. Cancer patients are paying the price for a failure to fix this broken system.” 

The development of a cancer drugs fund would be “unfair” according to the Welsh government. The government has claimed more is spent on cancer in Wales than in England. 

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “We care greatly about providing the best care for the people of Wales and our commitment is to provide evidence based, cost-effective treatments fairly to everyone.”