NHS England have released an update on the new Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF), which became operational in July 2016.

In their press release, published today, NHS England report that nearly 15,700 patients have benefited from the 52 drugs treating 81 different types of cancer funded by the CDF. Of these patients, around a third (5,000 patients) have received treatment sooner than they would have under the previous system.

NHS England has also secured discounts on 8 of the treatments previously funded via the old CDF, which will generate savings for the NHS of around £140m over the next 5 years.

The new system means the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) appraisal process now starts much earlier for newly referred drugs, with the aim of publishing draft NICE guidance before drugs receive their licence, and final guidance within 90 days of draft. This means that patients benefit from new cancer drugs about 4 months earlier than under the previous system, as soon as a positive draft guidance is published by NICE.

NHS England and NICE now have more direct involvement with industry, and work closely together to help find deals that work for patients. Under the previous system, industry proposed a price and NICE gave its recommendation of yes or no to the drug being made available on the NHS.

Read the NHS press release here