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Speeding up access to new drugs threatens evidence based medicine, says health economist

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i263 (Published 15 January 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i263
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

Accelerating access to new drugs in the NHS will do more harm than good, asserts Karl Claxton, a health economist at the University of York. Expensive new drugs absorb money that, on his calculations, could achieve greater benefits to patients if spent elsewhere in the NHS.

Claxton was speaking at a Westminster Health Forum seminar in London and in the 10 minutes allocated to him issued a powerful challenge to the more conventional views being offered by other speakers. The government’s Accelerated Access Review, which seeks to speed new drugs from the laboratory into the clinic (https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/accelerated-access-review), would “increase the rate of harm” already done by the Cancer Drugs Fund and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), he said.

Changes to the Cancer Drugs Fund would …

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