Tories unveil £400m cash boost to extend controversial cancer drugs fund
Controversial drugs scheme to be extended despite criticism from doctors
David Cameron announced on Saturday that an extra £400m of Government money will be allocated to extend a cancer drugs scheme that has been condemned by some doctors as a “triumph of political expediency over rationality”.
The Cancer Drug Fund, launched in 2011, was established to allow doctors to prescribe drugs even if they had been judged poor value for money by the health service’s medicines advisory body.
While the fund has been praised by cancer charities it has been strongly criticised by the medical journal The Lancet, which called the fund “the product of political opportunism and intellectual incoherence”.
The journal said it was unfair that the Government was prioritising expensive cancer drugs over similar medicines for equally life-threatening diseases. It also claimed that it undermined the role of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence which is mandated to impartially rule on which drugs should be prescribed on the NHS.
But at the Conservative Conference in Manchester, David Cameron will reveal the £400m boost that will extend the scheme until 2016. It has so far benefited around 34,000 patients.
He will also announce a new partnership between Cancer Research UK and Government-owned Genomics England to map the DNA code of 3,000 cancer patients and their tumours.
It is hoped that the project will allow researchers to develop far more targeted cancer treatments – as well as providing clearer evidence on which drugs will be effective for which patients.
The news will come at the start of the Conservative conference, which opens in Manchester today. It is one of a string of “consumer friendly” announcements designed to appeal to voters in the run-up to next election.
The party is expected to provide details of its plans for a new married couples’ tax allowance which will be introduced in next spring’s Budget.
There will also be a pledge that the long-term unemployed will be expected to work full time without being paid in order to continue claiming benefits. The move, which has significant public support, will be announced by the Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith. It is designed to contrast the Conservatives as the “party of work” while painting Labour as the “party of benefits”.
There will also be new measures to support small businesses while Eric Pickles will announce plans to prevent councils using parking enforcement powers as a “cash cow”.
He will limit the powers of councils to use CCTV cars to pick on motorists parking illegally. The Communities Secretary said that the Government was also looking at increasing the “grace” period for motorists to get back to their vehicle before being fined from five to 15 minutes.
In an interview with the Standard the Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps said the conference slogan would be “for hard-working people” and would begin with a tribute to Margaret Thatcher. “Lady Thatcher is very much on our mind,” he said.
“She understood that no government in history had successfully taxed its way to prosperity.
“That’s a very different mentality — not taking money off people and then giving some of it back, but saying that they should keep as much as possible of what they earn.”
- 1 Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 3 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 4 The top 50 cities for young people to live in
- 5 Uploading pictures to find out how old you are gives Microsoft the right to post them wherever they want
General Election 2015: Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind as he casts a line to the disaffected of Grimsby
Oxygen-starved 'dead zones' with no marine life up to 100-miles long discovered in the Atlantic Ocean
The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
Russian warships accused of 'chasing away' Swedish vessel to prevent Baltic States from achieving energy independence
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...
£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...
£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...
£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...