As part of Oslo Cancer Cluster`s work on public policy, we work to get the Norwegian Government to implement a “National Cancer Drug Fund”. The fund is ment as as temporary financing mechanism in order to both secure and speed up access to new cancer drugs. The Norwegian Cancer Society and the Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry in Norway (LMI) stands behind this.
With the availability of such a fund, specialists in Norwegian hospitals could apply for financing and start using new cancer medicines as soon as they are approved by the Norwegian Medicines Agency. This will secure Norwegian cancer patients access to the newest and most innovative cancer treatment. This is not the case today, resulting in a terrible paradox: Cancer medications that are available for patients during clinical trials may not be used after the medication have been approved if the Norwegian health authorities decide it is too expensive or not cost-effective.
Cancer care and prioritizing addressing especially the issue of cost of new cancer medications have been a hot potato the last years in Norway, drawing massive media attention. A “National Cancer Drug Fund” would ensure that all new cancer drugs may be taken into use. The discussion on wether the drug should be continued to be used may then be taken based on experience and knowledge – rather than just price.
Great Britain implemented such as “Cancer Drugs Fund” in 2010 and the experience with the fund have so far been very positive.