Details from the recent announcement:

The Cancer Drugs Fund in England will no longer pay for 16 medicines, used in 23 separate cancer treatments.
All the drugs on the Cancer Drugs Fund list have been rejected by the NHS as a whole because they do not provide enough benefit for the amount they cost.
At the beginning of 2015, there were 84 funded therapies, but after a series of culls there are now just 41.
The fund was set up by Prime Minister David Cameron to provide access to such medication. However, NHS England announced that the fund was due to go £100m over budget in 2014-15.
The drugs will be formally removed on 4 November and the announcement will not affect patients currently receiving treatment through the fund.
Patients affected: Blood cancer – 1,759 patients.
The Rarer Cancers Foundation said the news was a “hammer blow” and estimated that 5,500 patients across a spectrum of cancers would miss out.

Source: Cancer drugs fund cuts 23 treatments from BBC News.
The official announcement from NHS England can be found here.

Before I start it is imperative to start that the announcement will not affect patients currently receiving treatment through the fund.

I’ve read a lot of things over the last few days. I’ve heard many opinions and chewed a lot of fat. Any way you look at this recent decision, it’s hard to take any positives from it; that’s clearly why emotions are running so high. But, let’s remember what Yoda taught us:

The teachings of YodaFear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.

This is not a situation for finger-pointing or blaming people, countries or administrations we perceive to be at fault or guilty for a variety of suspected sins. One of the silliest suggestions I’ve read is that if that if we weren’t talking so many refugees in to the UK we would be able to afford the CML drugs. Not the case. Health economics doesn’t work like this. I’m not a fan of the Trident programme but I’m not daft enough to think that by scrapping it and saving billions we’d immediately be rewarded with the drugs we need. No, it’s more likely we’d get another station for High Speed 2. Joke. And for the record, I’m in favour of the UK playing our part and taking refugees.

We stand alone on this, fight our corner strategically and productively and make sure our voices are heard. Do I believe that campaigning hard will result in a reversal of this decision? No. But if we allow our voices to fall silent, when the day comes to start appraising drugs again, I want CML drugs to be at the front of people’s minds. I want people to understand that this is a poor decision about drugs that SAVE LIVES. I want the people responsible for the decisions to know that we are NOT faceless. I want them to know our names.

So what should we do? I believe there are two fundamental priorities to focus on:

1. To pressure the health administration groups in England to review decisions, open the appraisal process and ensure that we are part of the process moving forward – with respect to the reconfigured way of deciding which drugs to approve and which to reject.

2. To encourage pharmaceutical companies who manufacture our drugs to reduce their prices through Patient Access Schemes (PAS).

By playing this straight down the middle we position ourselves as the result of both health administration AND pharmaceutical company decisions. The decisions are unfair and unjust but that argument won’t win us any battles. A coordinated, strategic approach will. This means responding to requests for help with media enquiries, visiting Parliament to talk to MPs and writing letters to appropriate parties. It also means making yourself a more informed patient, understanding the process and contributing towards any changes. This is the only way we, as patients, will be part of any changes.

We’re doing this for our generation and the generation of patients that follow us. We’re doing this for the person diagnosed tomorrow who currently has fewer drugs available to them than when I was diagnosed 8 years ago. If that isn’t motivation enough to bring about change then I don’t know what is.

Thanks, Kris