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EMIG responds on Cancer Drugs Fund

UK pharmaceutical industry group urges that new initiative must not be a forerunner to value-based pricing

As consultation on the UK Government's proposed Cancer Drugs Fund closes today (Jan 19) the Ethical Medicines Industry Group (EMIG), representing small and medium-sized pharmaceutical firms in the UK, has welcomed its creation.

The Cancer Drugs Fund initiative aims to provide a means of improving patient access to cancer drugs prior to the anticipated reform of arrangements for branded drug pricing on expiry of the current Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS) at the end of 2013. It is set to start from April 2011.

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has also commented on the fund, warning against regional variations in access to drugs.

EMIG states that it supports any initiatives which improve access to life-changing or lifesaving medicines and therapies and calls on the Government to: ensure the patient/clinician relationship is key and that clinical decisions are the driver for the Fund; provide clarification on which types of medicines will be included in the Fund and how many patients will benefit and to consider the allocation of the Fund separately to the development of value-based pricing.

Leslie Galloway, chairman of EMIG said: "We believe that the Cancer Drugs Fund is a positive step which will help to address deficiencies in the current system for cancer patients. However, these deficiencies can also be seen to exist in other disease areas, and it is important that monies allocated to this Fund should not be at the expense of, or lead to, a loss of focus on the need for access to life-changing therapies for other conditions.

"The patient/clinician relationship is fundamental. EMIG supports the objective of the Fund to provide patients with access to the medicines their clinicians agree are needed to extend or improve life. If the clinician thinks that a treatment will be of benefit to a patient, then EMIG believes the Fund should cover it."

However, the group expressed concern that the Fund is being considered as a forerunner or pilot for the development of a value-based pricing system for pharmaceutical products to replace the current pharmaceutical pricing mechanisms by the end of 2013. The Cancer Drugs Fund should be seen as an approach to addressing access to medicines issues rather than a mechanism for determining price, its statement concluded.

The DH has further background to the consultation.

19th January 2011

From: Healthcare

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