Intended for healthcare professionals


Accelerated access to new drugs and technologies

BMJ 2017; 359 doi: (Published 22 November 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;359:j5387
  1. Huseyin Naci, assistant professor of health policy,
  2. Elias Mossialos, Brian Abel-Smith professor of health policy
  1. London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to: H Naci h.naci{at}

UK government’s proposed scheme is unlikely to improve patient outcomes

In a new report,1 the UK government has endorsed the recommendations of last year’s accelerated access review2 and announced its plans to introduce a faster route to market for “strategically important and transformative” medicines, devices, diagnostics, and digital technologies. With the accelerated access pathway, scheduled for April 2018, the government has made an unprecedented pledge to “bring forward by up to four years patient access to selected, highly beneficial and affordable innovations.”

The proposed pathway adds to an already crowded landscape of regulatory initiatives aiming to expedite the approval, reimbursement, and adoption of promising new technologies in the NHS. The recently reformed Cancer Drugs Fund is one example,3 along with the early access to medicines scheme allowing patients to use drugs before formal regulatory approval4 and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s “fast track” appraisal process that guarantees expedited funding for highly cost effective technologies.5

So, what is new about the new pathway? A core objective is …

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