RPT-UK commits 200 mln stg a year to cancer drugs fund

(Repeats to add codes)

* New fund will help pay for drugs not approved by NICE

* May close gap in cancer care versus rest of Europe

* Govt reiterates goal of new drug pricing system from 2014

LONDON, Oct 27 (BestGrowthStock) – Britain said it would spend 200
million pounds ($318 million) annually for the next three years
on a new cancer drugs fund, reassuring patient groups who had
feared being short-changed.

Creating the fund was a Conservative Party manifesto pledge
in the run-up to May’s election, but a government spending
review this month merely promised the fund would be worth “up
to” 200 million pounds.

The new pot of money was designed to help patients get
access to pricey cancer drugs not approved by the National
Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which
assesses the cost-effectiveness of medicines used in state
healthcare.

Health minister Andrew Lansley said on Wednesday the funding
would be available for cancer drugs for three years from April.
An interim 50 million pounds had been assigned to the fund from
Oct. 1.

Panels of doctors will be in charge of deciding how the
funding is spent for their patients locally.

Drugs cleared as cost effective by NICE will be funded on
the state health service as before, but the extra funding means
cancer patients also have a chance to get drugs their doctors
think they need, even if they are not on the NICE list.

Cancer patients have long complained that NICE rules mean
drugs widely available in other European countries are not
available in Britain. Lansley said the new fund would help close
the gap.

Cancer drugs rejected by NICE include Roche’s (ROG.VX: )
top-selling Avastin and GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK.L: ) Tyverb.

Lansley reiterated the government would move to a new system
of paying for branded medicines for use on the National Health
Service from 2014, confirming plans first announced in July to
adopt “valued-based” pricing once the current five-year deal
with companies expires at the end of 2013.

Details of how the new system will work have yet to be
hammered out and drug companies are concerned it could lead to
the sort of price controls seen elsewhere in Europe.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Dan Lalor)
($1 = 0.6298 pound)

RPT-UK commits 200 mln stg a year to cancer drugs fund