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The Telegraph has reported on comments made by Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health, about plans to help bring promising drugs and medical innovations to the NHS sooner.
Mr Hunt discussed plans to ‘fast track’ approval of treatments identified by experts as having the greatest potential to change lives. The Accelerated Access Pathway (AAP) will be introduced from April 2018, and the government says a ‘comprehensive package of support’ will allow firms to accelerate the clinical development of promising treatments and benefit from a faster approval route. Mr Hunt said that action is needed to address Britain’s slow record at getting breakthroughs in diseases such as cancer and dementia to those who will benefit.
Sir Andrew Witty, former Chief Executive of GlaxoSmithKline, will lead a new panel of experts to increase the speed of access to new technologies. £86m is invested in the plan to speed up access to new technologies.
Writing in The Telegraph, Mr Hunt said: “Too often, despite the innovation happening here in the UK, our uptake in the NHS and the process of getting new innovations and treatments to patients is too slow.”
An online article in Pharmaphorum, however, warns that while the news has been welcomed by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, the squeeze on NHS funding of medicines is not about to end. Moreover, the £86 million in funding is weighted towards helping small-to-medium sized organisations with digital products to crack the NHS market, and will not benefit big pharmaceutical companies.