Welsh Minister for Health Vaughan Gething has confirmed a further £16m funding investment by the Welsh Government to extend the New Treatment Fund, which ensures patients across the region benefit from quicker access to new medicines.
Established in 2017 by the Welsh Government, the fund is designed to ensure patients in Wales benefit from many of the latest treatments and medicines approved by UK regulators for use.
To date, the New Treatment Fund has enabled quicker access to over 265 medicines in Wales, allowing the treatment of more than 100 health conditions.
Under the fund, the average time it takes for newly-recommended medicines to become available to patients in Wales has dropped by 85%, from 90 to just 13 days.
Medicines whose access has been accelerated by the fund have been recommended by NICE and the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG).
The £16m funding awarded will see the fund extended through until April 2022.
Treatments supported by the fund include options for cancer, HIV, multiple sclerosis (MS) and cystic fibrosis. It has received £80m funding to date.
As well as the cost of new medicines, the New Treatment Fund covers the cost of additional equipment needed to administer a medicine and the cost of holding extra clinics to treat and monitor patients.
Welsh Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething, said: “Since we established the New Treatment Fund it has helped to prolong and improve the lives of thousands of people across Wales.
“Patients and their families are benefiting from improved access to life saving and life changing medicines.
“I’m pleased to confirm the extension of the Fund which reaffirms our commitment to ensure that people receive the latest recommended treatments quickly, no matter where they live in Wales.”
In response, ABPI Cymru Wales Director, Dr Rick Greville, added: “The New Treatment Fund has an excellent track record in speeding up people’s access to new, clinically and cost-effective medicines.
“We’re delighted to see that it will continue into 2022.
“Ahead of the upcoming Senedd Elections, we’re looking for all political parties to pledge their support for the Fund and to ensure it features in the programme of the next Welsh Government.
“Ensuring access to appropriate treatments at the right time will benefit patients, the NHS and the pharmaceutical industry across Wales.”