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Cancer: Drugs

Volume 506: debated on Monday 22 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the merits of providing to patients with rare cancers second line treatments licensed for their conditions. (316548)

The Department has made no assessment of the merits of providing to patients with rare cancer second line treatments licensed for their conditions.

However, second line treatments for patients with rarer cancers are included in the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence's programme of work on cancer. Full details of completed and ongoing appraisals of these treatments can be found at

www.nice.org.uk

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps he plans to take to reduce the time taken for individual funding requests for drug treatment from patients with metastatic cancer to be processed; (317381)

(2) what assessment he has made of the performance of each primary care trust in meeting the timescales set out in the National Prescribing Centre's guidance on Principles for Processes Supporting Local Decision-making about Medicines in (a) decision making, (b) communication of outcome, (c) case type and (d) appeals processes.

The National Prescribing Centre's document, ‘Defining Guiding Principles for Processes supporting Local Decision Making about Medicines’, available at:

www.npc.co.uk/policy/local/guiding_principles.htm

makes it clear that primary care trusts (PCTs) should make decisions in a reasonable and practical timeframe, but without compromising the minimum process requirements, even when requests are urgent. We expect PCTs to exercise their judgment when setting timeframes for dealing with individual requests. We have not made an assessment of PCT performance in dealing with such requests.