The ABPI has submitted its response to the consultation on the Interim Report of the Accelerated Access Review (AAR). While the response broadly welcomes the direction of travel we believe that the AAR needs to go further if it is to tackle seriously the issues surrounding patient access to medicines.
Set up by Government, but independent of it, the AAR aims to speed up access to innovative drugs, devices and diagnostics for NHS patients.
There are many potential benefits from achieving this goal, to the NHS, patients and industry, including:
We believe that the Review is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for reform to enable greater patient access and benefit from new medicines and in doing so to ensure the continued vitality of the pharmaceutical industry in the UK.
We are pleased that the Interim Report recognises the need to see medicines as an investment in patient care and quality outcomes, not simply as a cost. Investing in innovation is needed to improve productivity in the NHS and will generate wider benefits for UK growth. The Interim Report helpfully identifies many of the right challenges and sets out a direction of travel which is broadly welcome, albeit narrowly focused on a subset of treatments. However, the AAR must now go further and tackle the main problem in patient access to medicines, namely widespread delayed usage of new medicines.
We are putting forward the following proposals to achieve this:
In all of this we also recognise the current financial constraints on the NHS. As an industry we have alleviated this by ensuring there is certainty and very low growth in the branded medicines bill to the NHS through the unique Pharmaceutical Pricing Regulation Scheme (PPRS). The PPRS controls the amount that medicines cost the NHS each year, with industry having repaid almost £1 billion since it was set up in 2014. The PPRS should enable greater ambition in the reform of the medicines system as it contains and manages financial impact on the NHS.
We continue to work with the AAR team and ministers to ensure that this opportunity is used to its fullest effect and that patients are able to get access to new medicines more quickly, improving care and outcomes.
A copy of our full response can be found here.