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Welsh cancer patients 'missing out' on new drugs

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Cancer patients in Wales are more than four times less likely to receive a newer drug on the NHS than those in England, it is claimed.

Commenting on the Welsh government’s own figures relating to the number of individual patient funding requests, the Rarer Cancers Foundation (RCF) said they reveal the full extent of inequality in access to cancer drugs across the country.

Two cancer drugs - bevacizumab and cetuximab - accounted for more than 100% of such requests in Wales, while the four most commonly rejected drugs are cancer treatments.

Compared with information from the Cancer Drugs Fund in England, it shows there is a cross-border divide in access to cancer treatment.

Andrew Wilson, chief executive of the Foundation, claims cancer patients in Wales are paying the price for a failure to fix the broken system.

“The needs of cancer patients are no less pressing on one side of a border than they are on another, nor are treatments any less effective,” he added.

“Urgent action is needed to end this inequality. Politicians should set aside their political differences and act in the interests of patients.”

Although patients in England are benefiting from the presence of a cancer drugs fund, the Welsh government believes the development of such a fund would be unfair to people with serious conditions other than cancer.

It also states that more money is spent on cancer patients in Wales than in England under the country’s current system.

“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,” a spokesman said.

“A Cancer Drugs Fund would unfairly disadvantage many patients with serious conditions other than cancer and is not supported by all our clinicians or the general public.”


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Readers' comments (1)

  • The Welsh Govt state that more money is spent on cancer patients in Wales than in England but despite numerous requests to provide details the Welsh Government have so far failed to provide details to justify their claim.

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