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New bid to revamp UK drug approvals


Cancer drugs could be made available to the public faster under new Government plans, it has emerged.

Treatments for the disease could be referred to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) in parallel with the licensing process.

The announcement came in a raft of new measures to improve cancer survival rates unveiled by Health Secretary Alan Johnson.

An extra £370m will be invested in NHS cancer services by 2010 under the new Cancer Reform Strategy (CRS).

The plans may also see cigarettes banned from vending machines and under-18s prevented from using sunbeds.

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Changes will also be made to extend breast and bowel cancer screening to reduce waiting times before treatment.

Professor Peter Rigby, chief executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, said: “We welcome the new steps in the Cancer Reform Strategy. Cancer continues to be a great burden on society so any way we can reduce its impact is good news.

“Tackling cancer requires a multipronged approach so we particularly welcome the investment into vital treatments, such as radiotherapy, along with increased funding for screening for bowel and breast cancer.

“We look forward to seeing these recommendations implemented in a timely fashion.”

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