18. June 2012 14:16
The Department of Health may be leaving the details of its value-based pricing policy for NHS drugs “too late” for industry, Roche has warned.
The Cancer Drugs Fund will end just as VBP is introduced in 2014 – potentially leaving doctors unable to prescribe certain cancer drugs if companies have not had time to make their case.
Gavin Lewis, Roche’s UK Director of Health Economics and Strategic Pricing, said major cancer drugs such as Avastin, Erbitux and MabThera were in danger of becoming unavailable.
Speaking to the National Cancer Intelligence Network, Lewis said that companies whose drugs were only available through the CDF were waiting to be told how to gain NHS access under VBP.
“The reality is there is still silence,” he said. “And if you really want to have continuity of access to these cancer drugs and still have VBP at the end of 2013, then you could start saying it’s too late to start that process.”
Roche’s Avastin, which lacks NICE recommendation, is a leading example of a cancer drug whose future is in doubt as the pricing system changes.
NICE has proved hard to convince that high-cost cancer drugs are cost-effective, but the CDF commits £200m per year to buy them for NHS patients.
The ABPI anticipates that drug pricing negotiations between industry and the DH will begin in September.