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Rare medicine fund launched in Scotland

15 January 2013

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The Scottish government is launching a £21 million fund for patients with rare conditions. 

The money will be used to buy medicines for illnesses that affect less than 1 in 2,000 people, known as ‘orphan medicines’.

Scottish Health Secretary Alex Neil said: “It is only right that Scottish patients with rare conditions have access to innovative medicines which are clinically justified and that they are not disadvantaged due to the very high cost of these treatments.

“I am therefore pleased to confirm today that the Scottish Government will establish a fund, which will ensure that the cost of successful new individual patient treatment requests for orphan medicines are met.”

Requests for the fund will be accessed on a case-by-case basis.

Only medicines not recommended for routine use by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) will be covered by the fund.

Andrew Powrie-Smith, ABPI Scotland director, said: “As with some disease areas, for example, neurological diseases, there are particular challenges around rare and orphan medicines which make it difficult to fit them into the system for assessing more mainstream medicines, and we are pleased that the Scottish Government are addressing them.”