HEALTH – NHS PATIENTS & DRUGS PAYMENTS – 4 November 2008

Dr Julian Lewis: The Secretary of State said in his statement that only a number of people have had to pay privately for these top-end drugs. Will he indicate how many people have had the NHS entitlement withdrawn and can he think again –

[ ... The Secretary of State for Health (Alan Johnson): Mike Richards says that not enough evidence or information is available – one of his recommendations is that my Department gets more. He quotes the Joint Collegiate Council on Clinical Oncology, which carried out an online assessment and concluded that about half of those patients refused a drug go on to pay for it. Incidentally, 15,000 people a year go through the process and two-thirds have the drugs approved by their PCT. However, not even Professor Richards thinks that that is very robust. We need to do more work to get an accurate picture.]