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Published on 22 March 2010

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Drugs access for rare conditions

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Certain drugs and treatments will have their access increased on the NHS for patients with very rare conditions.

The small number of drugs and treatments concerned in health minister Mike O’Brien’s announcement are not yet appropriate for appraisal by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) but will nevertheless have their access increased through two initiatives.

Mr O’Brien said fair treatment is aimed at in the initiatives.

They involve: the creation of a three-year £25 million Innovation Pass pilot as outlined in the Office for Life Sciences (OLS) Blueprint to help patients with rarer diseases access highly innovative new drugs which are not yet appraised by NICE. A Government notice of procurement will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union formally inviting expressions of interest for the pilot; and the setting up of a new expert advisory group to strengthen the existing arrangements for commissioning services nationally for extremely rare conditions and to ensure that the system is more transparent and robust.

“People across England can be assured that there is a transparent system in place for deciding which specialised services are commissioned nationally,” said Mr O’Brien.

Copyright Press Association 2010

Department of Health



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