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Mixed news for pharma on UK's Accelerated Access Review

New funding will go towards ASHNs, SME’s and the Pathway Transformation Fund to name a few

UKThe UK government has announced it will make £86m available to smaller firms developing and testing new technologies in the NHS.

The scheme is the first stage in the independent Accelerated Access Review (AAR) - designed to accelerate patient access to new medicines and devices in the UK - that was published last October. It set out a series of recommendations for streamlining the access process for new drugs, medical devices, diagnostics and digital tools, including an accelerated access pathway for ‘transformative’ products that it suggested could reduce the wait for new treatments by up to four years.

While the new announcement has been welcomed by industry there is a sense of disappointment that many of the policy paper's broader proposals have yet to be put into motion and indeed an official government response to the AAR has not yet been delivered.

The funding includes £39m for Academic Health Science Networks (ASHNs), helping them to assess new health technologies and "support NHS uptake", according to the Department of Health, while £35m in match-funding will be available to the Digital Health Technology Catalyst.

There will also be up to £6m to help small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to gather real-world evidence for their new technologies, and another £6m for the Pathway Transformation Fund, which helps the NHS "integrate new technologies into everyday practices".

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) delivered a somewhat guarded response to the announcement, describing it as "an important first step" but adding that "turning the rest of the AAR’s recommendations into reality now relies on a full, positive government response to the review - and an effective life sciences industrial strategy".

"It’s important to put significant government investment where it counts, and speeding up patients’ access to new medicines and treatments is one route to healthier lives for us all," said the ABPI's head of commercial policy Dr Richard Torbett.

The BioIndustry Association also welcomed the new package, saying it will make the UK "a more attractive location for starting and scaling life science businesses".

"Enabling smaller companies to access the Early Access to Medicines Scheme [EAMS] will be particularly helpful for small UK biotech companies," said BIA chief executive Steve Bates.

Article by
Phil Taylor

17th July 2017

From: Regulatory

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