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Report to speed up NHS drug-approval reviews accepted by minister

11 March 2009

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Recommendations to speed up the process of approving drugs for use in the NHS have been accepted by Welsh Health Minister Edwina Hart.

They are included in a report by the chairman of the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG), which advises the Welsh NHS.

Professor Phil Routledge says that advisers should spend a maximum of six months appraising medicines that are not being reviewed by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

And he urges the setting up of national guidelines on funding for drugs that are not recommended for general use by NICE or the AWMSG but are needed by individual patients.

Meanwhile, the public must be kept informed about how medicines are evaluated and paid for, and a system developed to allow patients to top-up their NHS care with private payments.

Mrs Hart said: “These recommendations, along with measures already under way to speed up the Nice appraisal system, will deliver considerable benefits to patients and provide more consistent access to drugs where Nice or AWMSG have yet to make a decision or where drugs have been turned down.”

Copyright © Press Association 2009

All Wales Medicines Strategy Group