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First Minister should fix “unfairness” on drugs and treatment

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has called on the Labour First Minister to correct the unfair and inconsistent access to drugs and treatments in Wales.

During First Minister’s Questions in the National Assembly, the Plaid Cymru leader said that the current system of handling requests for treatments for diseases and cancers was not fit for purpose, and that patients sometimes had to move either to England or to a different part of Wales to access treatment.

Leanne Wood further noted that a Plaid Cymru Government would establish a better alternative to the Cancer Drugs Fund which operates in England. Plaid Cymru’s New Medicines and Treatments Fund would not be limited to cancer and would be overseen by National Panels for each speciality, would abolish the postcode lottery within Wales, and would expand the number of treatments available in Wales more generally.

Party of Wales leader Leanne Wood commented:

“The First Minister needs to accept that there is a problem with access to new drugs and treatments in Wales, affecting rare cancers and other diseases. We have seen patients such as Mr. Irfon Williams of the Hawl i Fyw campaign and others having to move to England, but we also have an issue of people having to move within Wales to find treatment. Most people can do neither.

“The Labour Government in Wales has not yet acknowledged that there’s a probelm with people receiving inconsistent access to drugs and treatment, and this leaves hundreds of patients in Wales in a desperate situation.

“A Plaid Cymru Government would establish a New Medicines and Treatments Fund. We would end the postcode lottery within Wales and ensure that a greater range of treatments could be provided here. The new fund would also be able to monitor the effectiveness of drugs not yet approved by NICE, and would result in a better and fairer system than the one which Labour currently operates.”