Medical Treatments: Innovation

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 16th May 2018.

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Photo of Derek Thomas Derek Thomas Conservative, St Ives

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with NHS England on ensuring equitable access to treatments following a positive scientific opinion through the Early Access to Medicines Scheme.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The Life Sciences Industrial Strategy set out our vision of being a world-leader in developing and bringing to market innovative medicines to improve patient outcomes. It highlighted the importance of evolving and simplifying the access system for new medicines by implementing, and building on, the findings of the Accelerated Access Review. The Early Access to Medicines Scheme (EAMS) is an important part of delivering on this ambition.

The Department works closely with NHS England to make a success of EAMS, jointly attending a task group with industry, the devolved administrations and arms length bodies to drive improvements to the scheme. NHS England is involved throughout the EAMS process, receiving advance notice before a product receives a positive Scientific Opinion. This enables NHS England to carry out earlier engagement with industry to prepare to provide access to the drug during the EAMS period.

Access to drugs through EAMS will not be universal, however as it is for individual clinicians to determine whether they believe it is right to offer the medicine to patients. We believe this is the right approach because EAMS products are unlicensed medicines. For a drug that applies to specialised commissioning, access will only be allowed in those centres who meet the appropriate service specification.

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