Letter to Times on Cancer Drugs

The Tories are erroneously accused of a ‘slight of hand’ by the King’s Fund over their funding of cancer drugs from the £200m saved by the NHS on not having to pay for the NI increase. But as the Fund well know, although this money isn’t a current spend, it had been budgeted for by local Primary Care Trusts as the NI increase was announced over a year ago and had to be factored in. Thus a well functioning PCT will now find that this money can be freed up for use elsewhere.

The more important point that the Tories are making however is that the decision over which drugs are approved by the evaluation body ‘NICE’ should not just be based on the economic value. It should also include the value to patients, carers, family and society. Our reports on ‘Value-based Pricing’ makes this substantial point, calling for the fixed threshold used by NICE (to decide which medicines and devices to approve) to become flexible and represent such factors as unmet clinical need, severity of the disease, patient preference and public health impact.


Julia Manning

About Julia Manning

Julia is a social pioneer, writer and campaigner. She studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991, later specialising in visual impairment and diabetes. During her career in optometry, she lectured at City University, was a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital and worked with Primary Care Trusts. She ran a domiciliary practice across south London and was a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry. Julia formed 20/20Health in 2006. Becoming an expert in digital health solutions, she led on the NHS–USA Veterans’ Health Digital Health Exchange Programme and was co-founder of the Health Tech and You Awards with Axa PPP and the Design Museum. Her research interests are now in harnessing digital to improve personal health, and she is a PhD candidate in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) at UCL. She is also dedicated to creating a sustainable Whole School Wellbeing Community model for schools that builds relationships, discovers assets and develops life skills. She is a member of the Royal Society of Medicine’s Digital Health Council. Julia has shared 2020health's research widely in the media (BBC News, ITV, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions & Victoria Derbyshire, BBC Radio 4 Today, PM and Woman's Hour, LBC) and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week.
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