About cancer

The Cancer Drugs Fund

The Cancer Drugs Fund was set up by the government in 2011 to improve access to cancer drugs that were not yet available on the NHS. These include drugs that have not yet been assessed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) who approve all drugs offered by the NHS and those which NICE have ruled are not cost effective, ie, do not show enough benefit to justify the cost of the drug.

The Cancer Drugs Fund was reviewed in 2016, and the new system is the product of partnership working between NHS England, NICE, Public Health England and the Department of Health.

The fund is only available to those treated in England. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own systems for deciding health budgets and so far have no plans to start a cancer drugs fund. The Cancer Drugs Fund list is regularly reviewed and the decision summaries are published on NHS England website.

The links below provide further information about the Cancer Drugs Fund, how applications can be made by your specialist (you can’t apply for yourself) and the decision process.