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Divided Kingdom:Cancer Treatments in Wales

27/08/2013 | By Sharmila Chauhan
Patients in Wales have less access to new cancer medicines compared to their counterparts in England say campaigners. The Rarer Cancers Foundation (RCF) claims that  patients in Wales are four times less likely to receive new treatment than those in England.

Currently health ministers have set up the Cancer Drugs Fund in England (worth £200m), to help fund the newer, more expensive cancer drugs.  Already 30,000 patients have received treatment through the fund. However, across the border no such fund exists.

There is concern that Welsh patients may not have access to newer cancer drugs. In a comparison of approval rates for medicines, The RCF revealed that there was significant variation among the approval rates between England and Wales. The former has approval rates of rates 29.10 per 100,000, whilst the later was 7.05 per 100,000.

Despite this disparity the Welsh Government said there was no support from doctors or the public for a cancer drugs fund. A spokesperson said: "We care greatly about providing the best care for the people of Wales and our commitment is to provide evidence-based, cost-effective treatments fairly to everyone.

"All medicines that are not approved by NICE or the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group can be prescribed in Wales where clinical exceptionality can be demonstrated. A cancer drugs fund would unfairly disadvantage many patients with serious conditions other than cancer."

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