The King's Fund has criticised the Secretary of State for Health after her intervention in the use of the breast cancer drug Trastuzumab (Herceptin).
The Policy Position released by the King's Fund has raised two concerns about the Ministers intervention. These are:
- that fast tracking might equate to more risk
Risk to patients may be increased by making drugs widely available on the NHS when little is known about the safety profile of the drug.
- that local decisions are being undermined
The intervention of the Secretary of State for Health in the decisions around the use of Trastuzumab has indicated that the governemtn is willing to pre-empt the processes followed by NICE and PCTs.
The full document contains a more detailed analysis of why problems have been caused in many organisations across the NHS. Given the wide press coverage this debate is getting it is possible that clinicians will be asked about this drug by their patients. This article provides a good background to the issues that are being raised by the debate.
Action: Clinicians may wish to read this document or have a copy to hand should questions about this debate arise.