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People with blood cancer potentially losing access to crucial drugs

The Bloodwise logo. Bloodwise appears in black text against a white background
Posted by
17 May 2018

People with blood cancer risk being denied access to crucial treatments because of restrictions imposed by NHS England on the use of cancer medicines.

A variety of tablets

Tougher criteria

Ibrutinib, a medicine for people with chronic lymphoctyic leukaemia (CLL) was approved for use on the NHS by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) last year. However, it emerged this week that NHS England has since introduced tougher criteria on its use. This means that it’s being denied to small numbers of people who have been in remission for over three years.

NHS England reviews all cancer medicines after NICE approves their use, so we’re concerned that people affected by blood cancer could be missing out on other medicines they’re entitled to because of similar restrictions.

People affected by blood cancer shouldn’t have to worry they’ll miss out on life saving medicines they’re legally entitled to. We need more transparency from NHS England about this process and for charities like Bloodwise to be involved in the decision-making process.

What we’re doing

We’re working with clinicians and members of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Blood Cancer to better understand the issue. We’ll also be writing to the NHS National Director for Cancer Cally Palmer in the coming days.

How you can help

If you think you’ve been denied access to a blood cancer drug you should have received and would like to share your story, please contact our Policy Manager Phil Reynolds on preynolds@bloodwise.org.uk or 020 7504 2268.

Your story will be kept anonymous and it will only be used to help our Policy Team better understand the scale and impact of the issue.

Read more about chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) treatment and its side effects