Fast-track for breakthrough treatments

A NEW fast-track route for introducing "breakthrough" medicines and technologies into the NHS has been announced by the Government.

The new accelerated access pathway aims to "speed up the time it takes for patients to benefit from ground-breaking products for conditions such as cancer, dementia and diabetes". Patients could get breakthrough technologies and treatments up to four years earlier.

The Government says this will be done by reducing the time it takes to negotiate evaluation and financial approvals before the NHS can purchase the products.

Under the scheme, which begins in April 2018, a number of products each year will receive “breakthrough” designation, unlocking a “package of support allowing firms to accelerate clinical development and gain a fast-track route through the NHS’s approval processes”.

The government is also providing an £86 million package to help innovators of all sizes gain access to the NHS market, to get their products to patients. This will include support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to help them build a stronger evidence base for their products, with £35 million over four years for digital products, and £6 million for medtech, diagnostics and pharmaceutical products.

Support of £6 million will be provided to clinicians to use new treatments and technologies in everyday practice, and £39 million will be earmarked to encourage grassroots adoption and uptake of new medical technologies – driven by 15 Academic Health Science Networks responsible for identifying high potential products, supporting their adoption in the regions and sharing lessons across the NHS.

Health Minister Lord O’Shaughnessy said: “I want the UK to be the best place in the world to develop new drugs and medical technology – but despite the innovation happening here, our uptake in the NHS can be too slow.

“Today’s new measures will not only benefit patients by improving how quickly and easily we can get innovative products from the lab to the bedside, but will guarantee future collaboration between the life sciences sector and the NHS post-Brexit – benefiting the British economy and creating jobs.”

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