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NHS earmarks £340m for new medicines fund to fast-track ‘innovative’ treatments

The proposed Innovative Medicines Fund is an extension of the existing Cancer Drugs Fund

NHS England has announced a new ‘Innovative Medicines Fund’ worth £340m to fast-track access to new treatments, including ‘cutting-edge’ gene therapies.

The proposed fund is an extension of the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF), which was designed to enable patients access to promising cancer treatments while further data is collected to support the cost-effectiveness estimates for their long-term use on the NHS.

The Innovative Medicines Fund (IMF) will operate in much the same way as the CDF, extending the model to other patients including those with rare and genetic diseases.

Through the new fund, these patients will get earlier access to the ‘most clinically promising’ treatments and also offer the UK’s National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) another option to avoid having to make an immediate decision in the routine availability of such treatments on the NHS.

“We want NHS patients to continue to be the first in the world to benefit from cutting-edge treatments as we bust the backlog,” said Sajid Javid, health and social care secretary.

“The Innovative Medicines Fund is another example of the government delivering on its manifesto commitments, and it will significantly reduce the time it takes for the most promising new medicines to reach patients, including children and those with rare diseases, saving lives and giving many people hope for a healthier future,” he added.

The aim of the IMF will be to provide treatments that could offer life-saving benefits, with a particular focus on helping those with less common diseases where data collection takes longer due to the smaller patient cohort.

The £340m of funding for the IMF, alongside the existing £340m for the CDF, means a total of £680m of ringfenced NHS funding will be made available for enabling fast-track access to new drugs in England.

“This commitment from the government is another important step towards improving access to new medicines for NHS patients,” said Richard Torbett, chief executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI).

"The fund can build on the success of the Cancer Drugs Fund and provide an opportunity for all patients to benefit early from the most promising treatments – including those for the rarest conditions.

“It also sends a signal to the global pharmaceutical industry that the UK is serious about using new health technologies, which in turn could help drive investment into UK life sciences,” he added.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

21st July 2021

From: Healthcare

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