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Thursday, May 01, 2014

Welsh patients lose out

A study by Bristol University reported in today's Western Mail confirms what many of us have feared for some time, that English patients are up to seven times more likely to get costly, life-extending cancer drugs than their Welsh counterparts due to the establishment of a dedicated cancer drugs fund.

They say that the findings of a comparative, cross-border study by Bristol University concluded cancer patients in England became more likely to access life-extending cancer medicines through the Cancer Drugs Fund, which have otherwise been rejected as too expensive by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence which approves drugs for NHS use.

They add that there are currently over 70 drugs available through the Cancer Drugs Fund, generally to extend life or treat symptoms rather than cure, with more than 38,000 patients in England receiving them in the past three years.

Despite this the Welsh Labour Government have consistently rejected introducing the fund in Wales arguing that Welsh patients do have access to appropriate drugs. This study puts that claim to the sword. It is time for a rethink by the Welsh Health Minister.

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