We are pleased to report that Pancreatic Cancer UK has signed up in support of Cancer Focus Northern Ireland’s Equal Access to Drugs Campaign.
We join 14 other charities in support of the campaign, which aims to improve access to specialist drugs - including cancer drugs - across Northern Ireland. You can read more about the campaign, its origins and objectives here.
As a result of Cancer Focus NI campaigning, and pressure from other groups and charities, the Northern Ireland Health Minister is currently holding a consultation on proposals to amend the way Individual Funding Requests for specialist drugs are handled, and the establishment of a Specialist Medicines Fund. We will be making a response to that consultation in due course.
In the mean time, we would encourage our supporters in Northern Ireland to try and attend one of the Department of Health’s public meetings about the consultation, which will allow opportunity for discussion and questions about what is being proposed. The remaining public meetings are being held at:
16th April (7pm – 8.30pm) – The Killyhevlin Hotel, Enniskillen, BT74 6RW
21st April 2015 (7pm – 8.30pm) - Antrim Civic Centre, 50 Stiles Way, Antrim, BT41 2UB
28th April 2015 (7pm – 8.30pm) – Belfast City Hospital, 51 Lisburn Road, Belfast, BT9 7AB
Access to specialist drugs is an important issue for pancreatic cancer patients in Northern Ireland because, at the moment, the new pancreatic cancer drug Abraxane is available in each part of the UK, except for Northern Ireland. A change in the way Individual Funding Requests are assessed in Northern Ireland would make it more likely that eligible patients could access Abraxane, if their clinicians felt it would be of benefit to them. A summary of our Two More Months Campaign which is aimed at making Abraxane available on the NHS across the whole country can be found here.
We hope that the Cancer Focus NI led campaign, and the Health Minister’s consultation on proposed changes, will lead to the reform of the specialist drug system sooner rather than later. We will continue to work in partnership with other charities, local supporters and others to try and make sure this happens.