Life saving bisphosphonate drug for breast cancer patients are denied due to funding disputes in National Health Services.
Bisphosphonate drugs are osteoporotic medications which prevent the spread of breast cancer to bones. These drugs usually cost 43 pence a day for treatment.The treatment cost includes medication fee, consulting time and frequent monitorings.
‘43p bisphosphonate drug denied for breast cancer patients in UK due to funding disputes in NHS.’
Around 27,000 women in UK with breast cancer are found to miss bisphosphonates due to funding disputes.
According to a survey conducted by Breast Cancer Now around three fourth of oncology specialists are finding it difficult to prescribe cancer drugs during treatment.
Professor Rob Coleman, Professor of medical oncology at the University of Sheffield, said: "The clinical evidence demonstrating the benefits of bisphosphonates for postmenopausal breast cancer patients is convincing and based on many thousands of women treated in well-conducted trials across the world.
"It should be an absolute priority for every clinician and commissioner involved in the provision of breast cancer services to ensure this simple and safe treatment is made available, as a matter of urgency.
"Not only can they save lives but they would reduce needless expenditure on unnecessary tests and the ever-increasing costs of treating women with secondary breast cancer."
The drug was found to be effective in treating breast cancer. Around 28% of women were found to have reduced chances of recurring breast cancer and 18% of women were found to have less risk of breast cancer related death during the first 10 years of diagnosis.
According to a research published in the Lancet Journal, bisphosphonate drugs are found to prevent 1000 cases of breast cancer deaths every year.
The analysis on the cost of using the drug was estimated to be 17 million euros a year while it was found to reduce the number of bone scans and secondary breast cancers.
Inspite of the clinical benefits of the drugs for breast cancer patients along with clinical support from UK breast cancer bodies such as the UK Breast Cancer Group and NHS England's breast cancer clinical reference group there is no still national commissioning policy which would result in prescribing difficulties among oncologists due to funding issues.
"This is largely due to the lack of national guidance on who should fund them. For example, in England, it remains unclear whether it is the responsibility of the hospital trust or the local clinical commissioning group (CCG) to pay for these drugs for their patients, or whether it might be funded centrally by NHS England, as many cancer drugs are." was mentioned by the Charity in a statement.
The decisions regarding the funding of the drugs is currently made locally and would be considered by National Institute for Health and Care Excellence for future guidance.