The Government has today published its response to the Accelerated Access Review. The Review made recommendations to speed up patient access to the most innovative medicines, medical technologies, diagnostics and digital products, and to ensure that the drug appraisal system is fit for the future.

Friday 3 November 2017      Campaigns and policy
Breast Cancer Now

As the response outlines, the Government has accepted the recommendations of the Review, and has set out plans to introduce an Accelerated Access Pathway which is likely to apply to around five of the most innovative and cost-effective products each year – and could include repurposed medicines in new indications.

The Government is also to set up an Accelerated Access Collaborative – including national organisations responsible for regulating, evaluating and delivering new innovations with input from patient representatives, clinicians and industry – which will select products for the pathway.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said:

“This is a very promising start towards improving patient access to innovative medicines. In particular, that repurposed drugs shown to be effective in a new use will be eligible for this fast-track pathway could be a major step forward for many NHS patients. Red-tape unfortunately continues to deny patients timely access to cheap and potentially life-saving off-patent medicines in new indications, like bisphosphonates to prevent the spread of breast cancer, and we hope this new scheme will help to address this.

“The Accelerated Access Review is a crucial piece of the jigsaw that we hope will lead to patients getting quick access to clinically effective drugs – and the early life sciences sector deal and the forthcoming negotiations on the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme will now also have major parts to play.

“As the Review recommends, we need a drug appraisal system that is fit for the future. But, we are yet to see how the appraisal methodology is to be reformed to ensure it can cope with assessing modern cancer medicines. We remain greatly concerned that new treatments given in combination will struggle to demonstrate cost-effectiveness at any price, and it is disappointing that the opportunity to address this issue does not appear to have been taken.

“The flexibility and willingness of NICE, NHS England and the pharmaceutical industry has been crucial to the recent approvals of drugs like Kadcyla, showing vital signs of life for our drug appraisal process. But we now need to ensure we have a sustainable system in place moving forward that will make the best drugs available to patients at the best possible price for the NHS and the taxpayer.”

Further information

Find out more on the BBC News Online article - Five new medicines to be fast-tracked annually to NHS patients.

Breast Cancer Now’s new Good Enough? Breast cancer in the UK report outlines 18 key recommendations for immediate action to improve the management of breast cancer in the UK, including to improve and accelerate NHS patients’ access to the best new medicines.