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Tuesday 8 September 2015



Chemotherapy drug Abraxane

The Petition of residents of the UK,

Declares that the chemotherapy drug Abraxane, used for treating people with pancreatic cancer, is being reviewed by the Cancer Drugs Fund panel at the end of July 2015; further that the drug should be retained on the Cancer Drugs Fund list of approved drugs; further that pancreatic cancer has the worst survival outcome of any of the 21 most common cancers with less than 4% of patients surviving 5 years or longer and that these low survival rates have remained virtually unchanged for the past 40 years; further that there are currently very few treatment options available for patients and that Abraxane offers a treatment option that some patients may be able to tolerate better than the most effective treatment currently available; further that ultimately Abraxane will give more patients access to life-extending treatment; further that removing Abraxane from the Cancer Drugs Fund will see pancreatic cancer patients in England disadvantaged; further that there is clinical support and demand for Abraxane and it is the only pancreatic cancer drug on the Cancer Drugs Fund; and further that an e-petition on this matter was signed by 2,700 individuals.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to retain the chemotherapy drug Abraxane on the Cancer Drugs Fund list of approved drugs.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Nic Dakin , Official Report, 21 July 2015; Vol. 598, c. 1463.]


Observations from the Secretary of State for Health:

The Government recognise the importance of having access to new and promising treatments for people affected by pancreatic cancer and firmly believe that clinically appropriate drugs that are established as cost-effective should be routinely available to NHS patients.

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The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body that provides guidance on the clinical and cost effectiveness of drugs and treatments. NICE is currently appraising Abraxane (nanoparticle albumin bound paclitaxel or nab-paclitaxel) for the treatment of prostate cancer and has not confirmed when its final guidance is expected to be published.

NHS England is responsible for administering the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF). Advances in medical science means that new cancer medicines are emerging all the time and NHS England needs to regularly prioritise its national CDF list so people can access these too.

Decisions on which treatments are included on the national CDF list are made by the CDF expert clinical panel. The panel includes expert oncologists, oncology pharmacists and patient representatives and is fully aware of the very poor outcomes in pancreatic cancer and of current available treatment options in this disease area.

The inclusion of Abraxane on the national CDF list was reviewed at the panel’s prioritisation meeting at the end of July. On 4 September 2015, NHS England published its decision following its review of Abraxane. The CDF panel concluded that the clinical benefits of Abraxane in metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma were insufficient to merit retention within current CDF funding and that it will be removed from the list from 4 November 2015. The panel’s decision summary is available at: http://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/cdf-decision-summ-nanoparticle-albumin-bound-paclitaxel-mpancreatic.pdf

Where a drug has been removed from the national CDF list as a result of the re-prioritisation process, any patients currently receiving the treatment under the CDF will normally have the option to continue treatment until they and their clinician consider it appropriate to stop. In addition, clinicians can make Individual Cancer Drug Funding Requests (ICDFRs) on the grounds of clinical exceptionality from the cohort for which the decision not to fund has been made.

The Government remain committed to the Cancer Drugs Fund which has already helped more than 72,000 people access the cancer drugs they need.