Cancer drug companies cut prices to win NHS approval

Tougher new policy by regulator means pharma firms are having to offer better value for money to get treatments accepted by NHS

Drug companies are slashing the prices of new cancer medicines to avoid having them banned from NHS use, order following the closure of the Cancer Drugs Fund.

The manufacturers of four cancer drugs have dropped their prices following closure of the fund – a pot of money worth £340m a year to pay for drugs that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) did not find cost-effective.

The latest cancer drug to be approved by Nice for general NHS use is crizotinib, sale for people suffering from lung cancer. It is made under the brand name Xalkori by Pfizer, which has twice cut the list price of £51,000 per patient per course of treatment after tough negotiations. The bill for crizotinib was previously picked up by the Cancer Drugs Fund.

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