The Institute of Cancer Research, London, today responds to the Government’s announcement of a new, fast-track route into the NHS for 'breakthrough' medicines and technologies. This announcement is a response to 2016's Accelerated Access Review.
The new Accelerated Access Pathway will, from April 2018, allow for selected medical technologies and treatments, to begin a process which could make them available up to four years earlier.
The Government aims to reduce the time taken for medicines, deemed to have the greatest potential to change lives, to negotiate the evaluation and financial approvals necessary before the NHS can purchase them.
The former CEO of GlaxoSmithKline, Sir Andrew Witty, will lead the body that makes decisions on which products should be granted access to the pathway. The Accelerated Access Collaborative will draw on advice from patients, clinicians and industry.
Professor Paul Workman, Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said:
“I’m pleased that the Government is acting to speed up access for patients in the UK to the most exciting new treatments. I very much welcome today’s announcement. We do need to be aware that the number of treatments and technologies that end up getting ‘breakthrough’ designation could be quite small. But this is a genuine opportunity to accelerate access to some real innovations.
“It is hugely frustrating for researchers, doctors and most of all for patients when innovative new cancer treatments are not made available on the NHS until years after the rest of the world, especially when they have only been made possible by UK science.
“We now have the opportunity to speed up licensing and appraisal for the most promising treatments. Looking ahead, to do even better we also need changes to the way appraisals are made to favour the most innovative drugs ahead of the ‘me toos’, and crucially we need action to bring down the sky-high prices of many new medicines.”
See our related blog by Dr Sam Dick that investigates what difference the Accelerated Access Review will make for cancer patients.