New treatments for advanced cancer: an approach to prioritization

J S J Ferguson, M Summerhayes, S Masters, S Schey, I E Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


The allocation of funding for new anticancer treatments within the UK has not kept pace with demand. Clinicians find themselves restricted in the use of licensed drugs which they feel are in the best interests of individual patients. Against this, health authorities have a duty to ensure that scarce resources are used equitably to meet the needs of the local population as a whole. Differential levels of funding for new treatments across the country have led to concerns about rationing by postcode. This paper outlines an approach to the prioritization of new treatment for advanced cancer developed jointly by clinicians and health authorities in South London. The approach involves evidence reviews and consensus meetings. Existing and new treatments are rated on a four-point 'relative effectiveness scale', which takes account of the impact of the treatment on quality of life and on survival. The strength of evidence supporting each effectiveness rating is also classified. Health Authorities have used these ratings to determine overall funding levels, while leaving decisions on individual patients to the relevant Trusts. (C) 2000 Cancer Research Campaign.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1268 - 1273
Number of pages6
JournalBJC: British Journal of Cancer
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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