Access to the cancer drugs fund

During Health Questions in the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon (10 January), Mr Evennett asked about access to vital cancer treatments. The text of his exchange with the Secretary of State for Health is included below.

4. Mr David Evennett (Bexleyheath and Crayford) (Con): What recent representations he has received on access to the cancer drugs fund; and if he will make a statement. [88269]

The Secretary of State for Health (Mr Andrew Lansley): We have received a number of supportive representations regarding the cancer drugs fund. Indeed, the Rarer Cancers Foundation recently praised the fund for making additional cancer drugs available to almost 10,000 patients in England since October 2010. It contrasted that access to medicines in England with the lack of such access in Wales.

Mr Evennett: My right hon. Friend has cited the view of the Rarer Cancers Foundation. Does he agree that this policy has put patients and doctors back at the heart of decision making, and has transformed the ability of cancer patients to obtain clinically effective treatment so that they can gain precious extra time with their families?

Mr Lansley: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. In the summer of 2010, we learnt from Sir Mike Richards’s review that patients in this country were less likely to have access to the latest cancer medicines within five years of their introduction than those in many other European countries. I am proud that so far the coalition Government have been able, through the cancer drugs fund, to help 10,000 patients to gain access to the latest cancer medicines.