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Cancer Treatments

House of Lords written question – answered on 16th May 2002.

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Photo of Lord Morris of Manchester Lord Morris of Manchester Labour

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether £17 million of National Health Service funding has been ring-fenced for the provision of the breast cancer drug Herceptin; and how much National Health Service funding has been ring-fenced in the current fiscal year for the provision of the lymphatic cancer drug MabThera; and

Whether patients with lymphatic cancer can have access to treatment by the drug MabThera, as urgently called for by the Lymphoma Association; and

What financial provision has been made in the years 2002–03, 2003–04, 2004–05, 2005–06 and 2006–07 for lymphoma sufferers to receive the drug MabThera on the National Health Service in the following localities: Leicester, Shrewsbury, Cambridge, Ipswich, Sheffield, Swansea, Basingstoke, Cardiff, Northwood (Middlesex), Oxford, Southampton and London.

Photo of Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Health, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health)

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) issued guidance on the use of trastuzumab (Herceptin) for the treatment of breast cancer on 15 March 2002 and rituximab (MabThera) for the treatment of follicular non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) on 28 March 2002.

NICE recommended that trastuzumab (Herceptin) is used in certain circumstances for women with breast cancer and made a limited recommendation on the use of rituximab (MabThera) for lymphoma patients in a specific state of their disease.

£407 million in 2002–03 and £570 million in 2003–04 is being made available to support implementation of the Cancer Plan, including positive recommendations from NICE on cancer drugs.

Local services have freedom to decide where National Health Service resources are best spent. However, directions have been issued obliging health authorities and primary care trusts to provide appropriate funding for treatments recommended by NICE. From 1 January this year, the NHS will have three months from the date of publication of each technology appraisal guidance to provide funding so that clinical decisions made by doctors involving NICE recommended treatments or drugs can be funded. maria

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