A new cross-party report is urging the life science community to work together and grasp the opportunity to speed up access to cutting-edge medicines in the UK.
Currently less than 50% of orphan medicines are routinely funded in England, Scotland and Wales, compared to over 80% in France and Germany.
The new APPG report provides a series of recommendations aimed at feeding into the upcoming NICE methods review – as well as suggestions for future research and work in the wider medicines access landscape.
The report emphasises that patients, clinicians, regulators and pharmaceutical companies all have an important role to play in shaping and improving the future of access to medicines.
Among the APPG report’s key recommendations are:
- There should be a fairer representation of patient groups on NICE appraisal committees to ensure that NHS patients gain access to the best possible and most innovative medicines and devices available.
- The Government to review the medicines budget with a view to increasing it to ensure patients can continue to receive world leading treatment.
- The pharmaceutical industry to work harder to ensure it brings the best price to the table at the earliest opportunity and is more transparent about how it arrives at its list prices.
- That NICE introduces an interim conditional approval mechanism, which would work in a similar way to the Cancer Drugs Fund, to fund plausibly cost-effective drugs.
- That NICE expands the current end of life Incremental Cost Effectiveness Ratio (ICER) threshold to apply to therapies where there is a clear unmet need in a severe condition.
- NICE adopts the Treasury’s suggested discount rate of 1.5%, instead of the currently used 3.5%.
- NICE to publish clear timelines for each stage of the methods review, with the relevant milestones planned by month, so stakeholders have a clear idea of what they can expect to be published and when.
“Some of the most innovative medicines and medical devices are conceived in the UK but taken to market elsewhere. That has to change,” says Anne Marie Morris MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Access to Medicines and Medical Devices, which authored the report.
“As we continue to push the boundaries of science and bring new ways to treat cancers, chronic, rare and genetic conditions to the NHS, our processes of assessing the value of such therapies must evolve to ensure patients gain access to the best possible treatments,” adds Ms Morris.