Lilly’s appeal against the Cancer Drugs Fund’s decision to delist its lung cancer drug Alimta (pemetrexed) has been upheld.

NHS England has agreed to re-assess the drug’s place on the Fund for use as maintenance therapy after first-line treatment with the combination of cisplatin/pemetrexed and second-line treatment for patients with non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer. 

Lilly said it hopes that the CDF Panel “will now recognise the significant clinician support for this medicine and positively reconsider their decision so that patients can continue to benefit from these additional treatment options”.

In January, the decision to drop 16 different drugs, covering 25 indications, from the CDF in a move to cut costs was slammed by patients, healthcare professionals and industry groups, but it also raised again over the validity of the Fund itself.

A working party - including representatives from NHS England, the Department of Health, cancer charities, and industry - has now been formed and tasked with finding the best way to get new cancer drugs appraised and commissioned for patients.