Clinicians performing operation

Life-saving medicines fast-tracked via new £340m NHS fund

Patients in England will have earlier access to potentially life-saving medicines on the NHS thanks to a new fund that has launched today.

Approximately £340m has been made available via the Innovative Medicines Fund in order to purchase the most promising treatments and fast-track them to patients, ultimately giving patients the best chance of a positive health outcome.

The fund is in support of NHS England and their mission to offer patients transformative drugs while real-world evidence is collated, so the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence can ascertain whether the treatments are clinically effective and cost-efficient.

The initiative further builds on the reformed Cancer Drugs Fund, which has already delivered potentially life-saving or life-extending drugs to over 80,000 people in the last five years alone.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “I want NHS patients to be the first in the world to access the most promising and revolutionary treatments that could extend or save their lives.

“The launch of the Innovative Medicines Fund delivers another manifesto pledge and will fast-track cutting-edge medicines to adults and children to give people renewed hope for a better future.”

£340m each has been set aside for both the Innovative Medicines Fund and the Cancer Drugs Fund, totalling almost £700m worth of financial support to fast-track the best medicines to the most in-need patients.

With around one in 17 people expected to suffer from a rare disease in their lifetime, this new fund will grant quicker access to treatments and circumvent a lot of the inefficient processes that stall background research into new treatments.

NHS Commercial Medicines Director, Blake Dark, said: “The NHS continues to be a pioneer in striking deals and rolling out the latest cutting-edge drugs and treatments. This new Innovative Medicines Fund will build on the success of the Cancer Drugs Fund, enabling more patients to benefit from early access to the most promising cancer and non-cancer medicines.

“The NHS Long Term Plan shows we are committed to adopting NICE approved treatments at the earliest opportunity and £680 million of ringfenced funding will help provide faster access to promising new drugs and ensure the NHS remains at the forefront of securing the best revolutionary treatments for patients.”

The Innovative Medicines Fund also supports the government’s Rare Diseases Action Plan and their subsequent pledge to ensure people living with rare diseases receive faster diagnosis, treatment and support.

This all forms the latest measure in the health sector’s continued efforts to arrest the crippling Covid-19 backlog still plaguing much of the NHS.

More information about the new funding is available here.

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