A new system of pricing branded medicines known as value-based pricing (VBP) is due to start from January 2014. The aim is to give NHS patients better access to effective and innovative medicines.

However there's still time for us to highlight the particular needs and issues of people affected by breast cancer as the Department of Health (DH) and The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) continue to discuss how VBP will work.

As well as feeding into a joint report by 14 cancer charities called Value-based pricing: Getting it right for people with cancer we've surveyed our Breast Cancer Voices. This is a panel of people affected by breast cancer who've volunteered to share their experience and expertise to help inform our work.

Ninety-five Voices responded including people with primary and secondary diagnoses. The results formed our report below which we've submitted to the DH and ABPI.

Read Defining Value for Breast Cancer Patients

Its recommendations include:

  • increasing patient engagement in the process
  • ensuring that patient access to drugs currently available via the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) is protected or improved during transition to VBP
  • assessment of the value of treatments takes into account the differing goals for people with primary and secondary breast cancer
  • recognition of the value of drugs that offer additional months for patients nearing the end of life.

What next?

In-depth interviews with some of the survey respondents will help us give the DH and ABPI more detail about the issues that are important to people affected by breast cancer.

Cancer Drugs Fund

Through our membership of the Cancer Campaigning Group we’re monitoring developments around the CDF which runs until the end of March 2014. There's been considerable pressure on the Government to be clear about how drugs currently funded through the CDF will continue to be funded in future.

At a recent meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer one of our Voices raised concerns over future access. The group's co-chair Annette Brooke MP promised to get more information and report back.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said that he is ‘looking at it as a matter of urgency’ (Hansard 26 Jun 2013 : Column 302) but there have been no concrete commitments so far. We'll keep you updated through this blog.