Government review aims to speed up NHS access to new medicines

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 24 November 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g7090
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

The government has launched another review into how to accelerate access to new drugs, devices, and diagnostics.

George Freeman, minister for life sciences, said, “By revolutionising the way in which we look at getting medicines and devices into the NHS we will make sure that this country is the best place in the world for 21st century medical innovation.”1

This is not the first such review, and it comes at a time when the first medicine to be “fast tracked” under the Early Access to Medicines Scheme has recently been designated. This is a cell therapy for cancer developed by a US company, Northwest Biotherapeutics, and under the terms of the scheme it may be made available to patients once it has completed phase II trials, shortening the development process.

Freeman’s announcement did not mention the …

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