NICE approves new cancer drugs for routine NHS use

Two cancer treatments, previously only available to patients through the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF), will now be routinely available on the NHS.

cancer patient consultation drugs

NICE has approved bosutinib for leukaemia and pemetrexed for lung cancer for routine use on the NHS because the companies that market them lowered their prices.

Since April, NICE has been looking again at the cost and clinical effectiveness of drugs currently in the old CDF.

Previously both drugs had been available only if a person’s doctor applied through the Cancer Drugs Fund.

The discounted prices mean that both drugs are now considered value for money.

Professor Carole Longson, director of the centre for health technology evaluation at NICE, said: “It’s great to see that companies are engaging with our CDF reconsideration process in a constructive way, resulting in these positive recommendations. This is good news. As these drugs move into routine budgets, CDF funding can be freed up for other new and innovative cancer treatments.”

The NHS now has a legal obligation to make both drugs available to all eligible people who need it, if they and their doctor agree it is the right treatment.

NICE has recommended bosutinib to treat some people with chronic myeloid leukaemia when other treatments no longer work.  

Pemetrexed was already recommended as a first option for people with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer. The new guidance means it will now be available to a broader range of patients as an option to stop a person’s cancer returning if they are in remission.

Both bosutinib and pemetrexed work by targeting specific cancer cells to stop them growing and multiplying.

This is good news. As these drugs move into routine budgets, CDF funding can be freed up for other new and innovative cancer treatments.

Professor Carole Longson, director of the centre for health technology evaluation at NICE