top left cornertop right corner
Blackburn with Darwen Primary Care Trust - About Us

Cancer Medicines in East Lancashire Health Economy         (Part of the Lancashire & South Cumbria Cancer Network)

Information in this section has been approved by the East Lancashire Drug & Therapeutics Committee  which covers Medicine Management issues across the East Lancashire Health Economy, which consists of;


·       Blackburn with Darwen CCG

·       East Lancashire CCG

·       East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust


Background to use of Cancer Drugs across the North West SHA

Drug treatments for cancer have developed substantially over the past 20 years and are set to develop further. It is important that NICE guidance on new technologies is available as soon as possible. In future the default position for all new cancer drugs and significant new licensed indications will be that they will be referred to NICE, where there is a sufficient patient population and evidence base on which to carry out an appraisal. NICE will undertake as rapid an appraisal as is possible ideally in parallel with licensing.


The current expenditure on NICE approved anti-cancer drugs varies across the three networks and the proportion of cancer drug expenditure compared with overall expenditure on cancer. The analysis of NICE drug expenditure in Figure 9 is taken from drug sales provided by Trusts through an independent company. Although indicative of the amount spent on NICE approved cancer drugs, it is not fully reflective of the volume of drugs available to cancer patients. We have a high number of patients in drug trials and these drugs are provided free by the drug companies whilst the patient remains in a trial. Whilst each network has differing cancer incidence this does not explain this level of variation.  Differing drug preferences between oncologists is also a possibility although the most likely explanation is historical patterns of spend by commissioners.


Figure 9 Drugs spend as a proportion of total cancer spend by network


Lancashire& South Cumbria

– Rank 28th of 34 networks 

– 4.8 % of total cancer spend is spent on anti-cancer drugs


Greater Manchester & Cheshire

– Rank 7th of 34 networks 

– 10.3 % of total cancer spend is spent on anti-cancer drugs


Merseyside & Cheshire 

– Rank 23rd of 34 networks

– 6.6 % of total cancer spend is spent on anti-cancer drugs

Source :Analysis of cancer spend by networks by Roche Pharmaceuticals 2007


Pledge 14: Patients across the North West will continue to have access to cancer drugs positively appraised by NICE. For pre-NICE drugs and those unlikely to be considered in the short term by NICE, there will be a common approach adopted by commissioners to ensure equity across the North West.  The opportunity to standardise treatment protocols will be explored and a commitment is given that all patients will be treated the same regardless of geographical location by 2012. 


Reference:  The North West Cancer Plan.  Access:

All material in this section is aimed at health professionals, but is information currently held within the public domain.   Members of the public seeking advice on medicine-related matters are encouraged to speak with their GP, pharmacist or nurse, or contact NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.  

Richard Lee, East Lancashire Health Economy New Drugs Pharmacist.


Powered by EasySite™ Content Management System