Today, I met with patient affected with breast cancer to discuss their expectations for a new system for assessing medicines, known as the ‘value assessment’, to be led by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
The current way of assessing medicines and their benefit has not always valued what matters for people with breast cancer – such as quality of life and additional months of life, particularly for those with secondary (advanced) disease. The new system is intended to ensure that patients can benefit from medicines based more on what matters most to them and will be consulted on later this year.
I was delighted to be able to meet breast cancer patients and hear first-hand what it is they value when it comes to treatment. I will work hard to ensure that the new system reflects their needs and priorities.
Whether primary or secondary breast cancer patients, younger or older, what any new system must be able to do is put them and their values at the centre of decisions about which treatments are available on the NHS. The Government must ensure this happens or it will have failed to deliver on its most fundamental promise to patients.