Parliamentary Question Highlights Need For Research
Posted on 11th March 2015 by William O'Brien in Lobbying
Brain Tumour Research would like to thank Adam Afriyie, MP for Windsor, for raising the issue of access to drugs for brain tumour patients across the NHS. Mr Afriye put down a written question for the Government on the issue on the 2nd of March, asking:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps the Government has taken to improve brain cancer patients’ access to cancer drugs.”
The Government’s response came from George Freeman MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Life Sciences, on the 9th of March, stating that the drugs temozolomide, carmustine and bevacizumab are currently available and that the Government is reviewing the adoption of new treatments. The full response is below:
“The Government is committed to ensuring that patients have access to effective treatments, including those for brain cancers, on terms that represent value to the National Health Service and the taxpayer.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body responsible for providing advice to the NHS on the clinical and cost-effectiveness of health technologies. NICE has recommended the following drugs for brain cancers as treatment options, subject to certain clinical criteria, in its technology appraisal guidance published in June 2007:
– temozolomide (Temodal) for the treatment of newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme (GBM); and
– carmustine (Gliadel) implants, for the treatment of newly diagnosed high-grade glioma.
NHS commissioners are legally required to fund treatments recommended by NICE technology appraisal guidance.
Where a drug to treat brain cancer is not routinely available on the NHS, patients may be able to access it through the Cancer Drugs Fund. Bevacizumab (Avastin) is available for the third line treatment of low grade paediatric gliomas through the Fund.
We are also commissioning an external review of the pathways for the development, assessment, and adoption of innovative medicines and medical technology. This review will consider how to speed up access for NHS patients to cost-effective new diagnostics, medicines and devices.”
We thank Mr Afriyie for his question and for representing the concerns of both the patients and families facing diagnosis of this terrible disease. The response from the Government highlights how far we still have to go before the treatments that can cure or alleviate symptoms are available in the NHS and how much we need increased research funding.
As we know, brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer… yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research is allocated to this devastating disease. This means that the drugs and treatments available to patients are limited and often ineffective. This cannot continue. We are striving to fund a network of seven dedicated research centres whilst challenging the government, through continued lobbying activity, to invest more in brain tumour research and create the treatments patients need.