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Devastating Divide For Access to Cancer Drugs

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The Rarer Cancers foundation (RCF) have discovered that cancer patients in England are increasingly more likely to access effective drugs than those in Wales or Scotland.

Having reviewed statistics from health trusts across England, the RCF claim there is a “devastating divide” across the UK in how successful patients are in receiving drugs that have been approved by the government run cancer drugs fund.

The cancer drugs fund had been set up so that patients could be given access to drugs that were doctor approved but had not been released for national use across the UK.

When access to these drugs in England was compared to access across Wales and Scotland it was found that Scottish patients were three times less likely to receive such drugs and those in Wales were five times less likely.

Chief executive of the RCF, Andrew Wilson, stated that, “A cancer drug does not become any less effective simply because it is prescribed on the other side of a border…Nor does a patient’s need become any less pressing.”

Before adding that, “”People in Scotland and Wales will want to know why their chances of accessing a life-extending cancer drug are so much lower than their neighbours in England.”

The Scottish government added that, “through the Scottish Medicines Consortium and Healthcare Improvement Scotland which operate independently from the Scottish government… on equity of access to newly licensed drugs throughout Scotland.”

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