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The Cancer Drugs Fund: was it worth it?

The Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) was launched in England in 2010 to provide patients with access to anti-cancer drugs not available through the NHS because the drugs had not been appraised, were in the process of being appraised, or had been appraised but not recommended by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

The CDF had an initial budget of £50 million a year, but by the time it was closed in March 2016 it had become financially unsustainable and, in the period of its operation, had cost the UK taxpayer £1.27 billion.

On 28th April 2017, Annals of Oncology published a new analysis of the drugs that were approved by the CDF between 2010-2016, and examines whether or not the fund was good value for money and worked for the benefit of patients and society.



Prof. Richard Sullivan, director of the Institute of Cancer Policy, King’s Health Partners Comprehensive Cancer Centre, King’s College London, and co-author of the Annals of Oncology research paper.

Dr Kapil Dhingra, associate editor of Annals of Oncology and managing member of KAPital Consulting LLC, USA, and author of the accompanying editorial in Annals of Oncology.


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