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The views of patients and the general public about expensive anti-cancer drugs in the NHS: a questionnaire-based study

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-07, 16:13 authored by Valerie JenkinsValerie Jenkins, Ivonne Solis Trapala, Louise Parlour, Carolyn I Langridge, Lesley FallowfieldLesley Fallowfield
Objectives: To determine the views of patients and members of the public about who should pay for expensive new cancer drugs not recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). Design: A study-specific questionnaire was used to elicit the views of patients and the general public between April and June 2010. It examined whether participants thought patients should be told about all possible cancer treatments, if the NHS should always fund non-NICE recommended drugs and attitudes towards self-funding/co-payments. The influence of sociodemographic factors on responses was also examined. Setting: Oncology clinics in Sussex and various locations including old persons' lunch clubs, parks, sports venues and support groups. Participants: Two hundred and 10 patients with common solid tumours, and 416 members of the general public Main outcome measures: Frequencies of responses to items regarding payments for expensive anti-cancer drugs stratified by sociodemographic factors and comparison of responses between patients and members of the public. Results: Most respondents (70% [147/210] of patients and 64% [266/416] of the general public) had heard of NICE. Both groups believed that doctors should tell patients about all available cancer treatments even if the NHS cannot pay (94%, 196/208; 93%, 388/415). However, only 49% (101/207) of patients and 36% (146/409) of the public believed that the NHS should always fund all new cancer drugs that have failed health technology assessments. Strong predictors of willingness to purchase expensive new cancer drugs included younger age (<45 years), sex (female) and higher educational level. Conclusion: The general population appear realistic about the difficulties of providing funding for expensive new drugs. A communication skills training course has been developed to help clinicians with these difficult consultations.


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  • Published


Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine Short Reports




Royal Society of Medicine





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  • Sussex Health Outcomes Research & Education in Cancer (SHORE-C) Publications

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Fran Boyle

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