Association of the British Pharmaceutical Association Responds to Audit Office Report

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Association (ABPI) has responded to the recent report of the National Audit Office (NAO) with regard to this investigation into the Cancer Drugs Fund.

In its final report on the subject, the NAO concluded that there are major problems with regard to the fund in the immediate future.

It was asserted by the NAO that unless significant measures were taken to improve the funding of the Cancer Drugs Fund, numerous medicines would need to be removed from the list permanently.

Speaking about the assertions of the National Audit Office, Dr Richard Torbett, Executive Director, Commercial at the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Association, acknowledged that the audit office report should be considered an important document.

“We welcome this report which sheds an important light on the impact and the sustainability of the Cancer Drugs Fund and we are pleased to have had the opportunity to contribute our views,” Torbett stated.

Torbett also acknowledged that the situation in the United Kingdom with regard to cancer drugs is less than ideal.

“Whilst the Cancer Drugs Fund improved patient access to cancer medicines that are not routinely available on the NHS, the report makes clear that the use of new cancer drugs in the UK still remains below the average in other comparable countries. We remain adamant that this needs to change,” Torbett asserted.

Far from being in disagreement with the National Audit Office report, Torbett in fact acknowledge that legitimacy of conclusions made by the organisation.

“We want to see many more patients benefitting from new and innovative medicines, including cancer medicines, and we have long voiced the view that the Cancer Drugs Fund is not sustainable in its current form, as the NAO report highlights,” Torbett conceded.

Although there are clearly significant organisational, structural and financial problems faced by the fund in the medium-to-long-term, Torbett also suggested a potential resolution to the existing situation that could assist cancer patients across the United Kingdom.

“What is needed is a wholesale reform of NICE, which, along with NHS England, needs to develop a longer-term sustainable solution to the evaluation and commissioning of cancer medicines. We therefore look forward to the upcoming consultation on the Cancer Drugs Fund and remain committed to working with all parties to achieve a more joined-up system which allows many more NHS patients to benefit from life-enhancing medicines,” Torbett espoused.

It was reported in May 2015 that the total global spending on cancer drugs exceeded $100 billion in 2014.


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