As the ABPI launches its latest research showing significant barriers to the NHS accessing life-saving and life-enhancing stratified medicines, ABPI Chief Executive Stephen Whitehead considers why the Government’s new Innovative Medicines and MedTech Review into the pathway for development, assessment and adoption of 21st Century medical innovation couldn’t be better timed.
Our research shows that 90% of clinicians and healthcare professionals believe that stratified medicine in a range of disease areas will have a positive impact on the UK’s health system. But just 25% of them report good access to these medicines in their area currently.
Forty percent of those we interviewed feel that the NHS is currently achieving little or no benefit from these highly-targeted and tailored medicines but a third believe these innovative medicines give patients access to treatments they otherwise would not have. Health professionals are unanimously agreed that there are significant challenges to implementing stratified medicines and 90% claim the health system will need to change in order to support their adoption.
And therein lies the crux of the current situation with regards to patient and professional access to innovative medicines – at present the UK health system is simply not structured to facilitate and expedite access to the innovative and proven effective medicines that the pharmaceutical industry is producing.
We have already identified that the UK’s clinical and regulatory systems need to be optimised for the development of medicines and their delivery to patients. This requires many organisations to work together in order to provide this world-class environment. With 60% of the pipeline of new medicines in specialised or stratified medicine the whole system needs an overhaul in order to harness their potential.
The ABPI continues to call for a refresh of the Strategy for UK Life Sciences to encompass the healthcare and regulatory systems, research and science capabilities and economic and fiscal measures, and I wholeheartedly welcome the Government’s commitment today to do just this as it announces a review intended to accelerate access to medicines.
If this initiative is to succeed and we are to ensure that the right patient receives the right medicine at the right time, we need to bring together the life sciences industrial strategy with the health system by linking licencing, value assessment and NHS commissioning. Joined up with other initiatives such as those that impact NICE – and its role in a ‘bench to bed’ approach to life sciences – and NHS England, this review presents a real opportunity for the sector to flourish.
Together with continued government and industry investment in the research and development of new medicines, this initiative could not only improve outcomes for patients but for UK plc as we create jobs and investment in the pharmaceutical industry.
The Government’s announcement of this initiative to accelerate access to new medical innovations couldn’t be better timed. Industry is ready with ever-increasing numbers of targeted medicines; health professionals are ready to capitalise on the therapeutic benefits of these medicines and now government is ready to reconsider the health landscape for the benefit of an expectant patient population.
Stratified medicines in the NHS: an assessment of the current landscape and implementation challenges for non-cancer applications is the ABPI’s latest report covering stratified medicines in the UK and is launched today at our annual R&D conference.
Stephen WhiteheadABPI Chief Executive