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Published on 11 March 2009

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Call for drug report transparency


Complaints of a postcode lottery for medicines in Wales have led to calls for drug appraisals to be “robust, consistent, transparent, inclusive and timely”.

The report by pharmacology expert Professor Phil Routledge recommends advisers spend no more than six months in their review process.

The time limit would apply to a panel examining drugs that were not under consideration by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

The work by NICE is mirrored by the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG) which advises the Welsh NHS and of which Prof Routledge is chairman.

The recommendations of a report on speeding up the process and improving the availability of medicines have been accepted by health minister Edwina Hart.

It said there should be national guidelines on exceptional funding bids from patients who need medicines that are not recommended for general use by NICE or the AWMSG, along with a communication strategy to teach the public about how medicines are evaluated and paid for.

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

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