UK cancer drug fund gets extra 160 million pounds

Reuters

LONDON, Aug 28 (Reuters) - A fund that helps patients receive cancer medicines not routinely paid for by Britain's state health service is to get an extra 160 million pounds ($265 million), although the government is also taking a tougher line on prices.

The Cancer Drugs Fund will negotiate with the pharmaceutical industry on cost "to ensure best value" for the National Health Service (NHS) in England, the Department of Health said on Thursday.

The fund, which was set up four years ago, is being extended to 2016 and will be increased to 280 million pounds a year from 200 million.

The funding increase follows a number of controversial decisions by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the country's cost-effectiveness watchdog, to block payment for some cancer drugs.

Patients in England who cannot get such cancer drugs on the NHS can apply to the Cancer Drugs Fund to cover the costs.

Alongside the injection of new funds to help patients, two new drugs have also been identified that will be added to the fund. These are Astellas and Medivation's Xtandi for prostate cancer, and Celgene's Revlimid for a new group of patients with myelodysplastic syndrome, a rare blood condition. ($1 = 0.6025 British Pounds) (Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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