Along with other charities and industry groups, we have been feeding into the Accelerated Access Review over the summer by providing feedback about the barriers to accessing new medicines that currently exist.
We hope that the outcome of the review will be to provide a mechanism to make promising new treatments for people affected by brain tumours as quickly as possible. This might be done by building on schemes such as the Adaptive Pathways Pilot, and the Early Access to Medicines Scheme, a programme that has already helped to drive the development of DC-Vax, a brain tumour vaccine for glioblastomas.
The Adaptive Pathways Pilot was launched in 2014 by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to explore how to improve access to medicines for disease areas where there is unmet need and a lack of available treatment options (such as brain tumours).
We also called on the Review to look at encouraging new ways to support the use of drugs that have been approved for another disease area, but may also be suitable for people affected by brain tumours.
The interim report outlines five themes that have arisen from the initial consultation process with charities and industry groups, and provides some details on how those themes may work in practice.
We welcome the report's intent to move towards a system of “managed access" for promising new medicines into the NHS.
"Managed access" would mean that drugs lacking the evidence base to be funded by the NHS would be made available to patients for a fixed period of time, whilst more data is collected by manufacturers about the outcomes of those drugs on patients.
This is in line with proposals by NHS England for reforming the Cancer Drugs Fund, and we believe that this would provide a more flexible approach to appraising drugs than the current mechanism used by The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
Additionally, we welcome the commitment of the Review to build on existing initiatives like the Early Access to Medicines Scheme and the Adaptive Pathways Pilot when developing proposals for a new scheme to speed up access to promising new medicines.
Ahead of the final report in April 2016, we shall continue to engage with the Accelerated Access Review as it develops its proposals for speeding up access to new medicines and technologies.