Tories pledge £200m for life-saving cancer drugs
Posted by Jamie at 9 40 PM on Saturday, April 3
HUNDREDS of thousands of cancer sufferers would get life-saving drugs under a £200million plan unveiled by the Tories last night.
The Conservatives aim to halt the scandal of patients dying because health chiefs refuse them expensive medicines.
Survival rates here lag behind the European average, with many safe treatments not recommended for use on the NHS because they cost too much.
And shocking figures last week revealed healthcare in this country was so bad that women live longer in former communist Slovenia.
But the Tories claim their Cancer Drugs Fund proposal, paid for out of National Insurance savings, could prolong 11,000 lives every year and bring Britain into line with the best survival rates in Europe.
Leader David Cameron said: “Other European countries are doing better than us at giving people longer, happier lives with cancer than we are. In the UK there are thousands of people who want a certain cancer drug whose doctors tell them they should have it but who don’t get it.”
Some drugs are unavailable because the National Institute for Clinical Excellence has not yet issued guidance on them — even though they are certified as safe. But often the institute has ruled effective drugs should not be made available to NHS patients because they are too expensive.
Labour promised in 2008 more would become available but there has since been a string of cases of the institute proposing to block drugs, including:
Breast cancer drug Tyverb, in October last year.
Liver cancer drug Nexavar last November.
Bowel cancer drug Avastin, also last November.
Each year around 240,000 people in England are diagnosed with cancer and 129,000 die.
And the Department of Health has admitted the use of new cancer drugs here is about 40 per cent lower than in other European countries.
Tories would scrap Labour’s 1p National Insurance hike and pay for the Cancer Drug Fund with money the NHS would have spent on NI contributions.