Julia Bradshaw for The Telegraph reports:
The UK boss of one of the biggest pharmaceuticals companies in the world has said he would “not want to be a cancer patient in England” as a 12-week consultation on changing the way patients get access to breakthrough cancer drugs draws to a close.
Erik Nordkamp, managing director of Pfizer UK, said the Government's proposals on reforming the cancer drugs fund would end up failing patients and “set the clock back five years”.
In an interview with The Telegraph, he said England already had one of the worst outcomes for cancer patients among the OECD club of rich nations and was, in his experience, also one of the worst countries in the world, if not the worst, for getting breakthrough drugs to those who need them...
While other countries continually adapt their drugs approval framework as technology advances, England’s system of deciding which drugs patients get access to hasn’t changed in 16 years, he explained.
This is problematic because it means Nice’s methodology for approving drugs hasn’t kept up with the advances in medical technology...
For instance, he explained, our understanding of cancer has fundamentally changed in so far as it’s not one disease, but hundreds or even thousands of unique diseases which require patient-specific treatment. That means that the world of tackling every cancer sufferer with one blockbuster chemotherapy drug is long gone.
“Cancer is becoming a chronic illness, that we live with and you can’t link outcomes to mortality anymore,” Mr Nordkamp said. “Breakthrough medications specific to small groups of patients can extend lives. Treatments are moving on, but the way Nice evaluates these treatments is not fit for purpose.