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Innovation Pass pilot launches

A pilot to help patients get innovative new drugs not currently available on the NHS is being launched for consultation 

A pilot to help patients with rarer diseases get innovative new drugs not yet appraised by NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) was launched for consultation on November 28 by Health Minister, Mike O'Brien, and Science and Innovation Minister, Lord Drayson, delivering on the commitment made by government in the Office for Life Sciences (OLS) Blueprint, published in July.

During the three-year pilot, the Innovation Pass will allow valuable data to be collected on the impact of these new drugs on patients and their cost effectiveness, which will contribute towards a future NICE appraisal. Drugs included on the scheme will be licensed and NICE will play a key role in developing and applying the drug eligibility criteria for the Innovation Pass. All drugs included on the pilot will be submitted for NICE appraisal at the end of the three years.

In addition to being run in partnership with NICE, the Innovation Pass pilot has involved significant input from a range of stakeholders including the NHS and the Life Sciences industry. It will be funded from a ring-fenced £25m budget in 2010/11, which was set aside exclusively for the Innovation Pass. Funding for future years is discussed in the consultation.  

Commenting on the pilot, Health Minister Mike O'Brien said: "I am extremely pleased to launch this consultation that will help patients with the greatest need to benefit from and get access to exciting new innovative drugs. The Innovation Pass pilot will help collect the essential data needed to demonstrate that such drugs, which would not otherwise be available to patients, are making a big difference to their lives.

"I value NICE's involvement in the pilot from the outset," Mike O'Brien continued. "NICE are recognised as a world leader in the assessment of health technologies and their involvement in the innovation pass process will ensure that the best information is available when assessing which drugs should qualify for the pass."

Andrew Dillon, chief executive of NICE said: "We recognise that for a small number of very promising new treatments, the evidence available may not reveal their full potential benefits for patients. Where there is a high risk that a NICE appraisal of a new treatment at the point of its first use in the NHS might underestimate its benefits, providing the opportunity to gather more evidence and making the treatment available before undertaking an appraisal is the right thing to do.

"We're happy to play our part in making this new arrangement work well, and that it works in the interests of patients and the NHS."

The Innovation Pass pilot consultation will run for 10 weeks, closing on February 8, 2010. Input and comments are welcome from all groups including stakeholders, industry, the NHS and patient groups.

30th November 2009

From: Healthcare

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