UK: Government accused of blocking new cancer drugs to save money

Source: The Guardian

The government has been accused of “systematically” delaying the introduction of new cancer drugs in order to save money.

A leading cancer specialist and the head of Britain’s biggest drugs company said innovative drugs were being held back as part of an ill-conceived attempt to cut costs.

Prof Jonathan Waxman, of Imperial College London, who founded the Prostate Cancer Charity and helped establish an all-party parliamentary group to improve cancer treatment, described the situation as a disaster.

He said a number of new cancer drugs had been blocked by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), which assesses the cost-effectiveness of new treatments.

“In my view, Nice has over-regulated and proscribed drugs that offer real advances to people with cancer,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

“In my particular area of specialisation, which is prostate cancer, we have had two new drugs become available over the last year and a half which offer real benefits for patients.

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