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Initiative to improve drug access

15 July 2009

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The government intends to give patients better access to life-saving drugs through a new “innovation pass” initiative.

The scheme would allow certain patients, such as those suffering from late-stage cancer, to have access to cutting-edge medicines without the need to go through the appraisal process required by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

Health minister Lord Darzi – who has just announced his intention to resign next week – and science minister Lord Grayson unveiled the proposals as they launched the Life Sciences Blueprint at Imperial College London.

The aim of the blueprint is to change the environment for life science companies to enable faster patient access to cutting-edge technologies in order to reverse a recent trend which has seen the UK lose its market share in life sciences.

Lord Darzi said: “We need the life science industry to be a real growth story in this country.

“It’s one of our leading industries so we’ve spent the last six months working with the industry across government to identify what the problems are and what the solutions need to be to turn the situation around.”

Copyright © Press Association 2009

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence