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Understanding global cancer drug funding to improve patient care

8 June 2017
Understanding global cancer drug funding to improve patient care

Researchers working on global cancer policy are analysing the funding of cancer drugs to better understand how outcomes and access can be improved for patients.

A ring-fenced drugs fund was created [in England] despite a lack of evidence that prioritising drug expenditure would improve outcomes for cancer patients.

– Richard Sullivan, Professor of Cancer and Global Health

Richard Sullivan, Professor of Cancer & Global Health at King’s and Director of the Institute of Cancer Policy, and his team are collaborating with researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as well as other colleagues globally including Queen’s University (Canada) to better understand the funding of cancer drugs through international models.

A recent study led by Professor Sullivan suggested that the drugs that were approved for use by the NHS Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) in England has shown that the fund was not good value for patients and society and may have resulted in patients suffering unnecessarily from toxic side effects of the drugs.

Commenting on the study he said: ‘A ring-fenced drugs fund was created despite a lack of evidence that prioritising drug expenditure would improve outcomes for cancer patients.

‘We recommend that other countries that are considering similar ring-fenced drug access funds for high cost cancer drugs should adopt a more rational approach to funding high cost health technologies.’

Another recent study published in The Lancet Oncology and co-authored by Professor Sullivan revealed that the pricing of cancer drugs in the US and Europe appears to have no relationship to their effectiveness with the most expensive drugs not necessarily being the most beneficial.

The study examined frameworks developed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) and concluded that to deliver optimal cancer care in a sustainable health system, oncologists and policy makers should reconcile the disconnect between drug cost and clinical benefit.

 

For more information about the Institute of Cancer Policy, visit the King’s website.

For more information about King’s Health Partners, please visit their website.

Interested in studying Global Health? Visit the prospectus web pages.

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