A pilot to help patients get innovative new drugs not currently available on the NHS has been launched for consultation by Health Minister Mike O’Brien and Science and Innovation Minister Lord Drayson.
During the three-year pilot, an ‘Innovation Pass’ will allow patients with rarer diseases access to innovative new drugs and enable valuable data to be collected on their impact and cost effectiveness, contributing towards a future NICE appraisal.
The Office for Life Sciences (OLS) Blueprint, published in July, detailed the Government’s commitment to create the ‘Innovation Pass’ to allow access to drugs for rare diseases that are not yet appraised by NICE, and where there is limited data on their effectiveness.
As the number of patients using these drugs is small, the lack of current evidence available means that NICE are not able to conduct a full assessment for their use on the NHS.
Health Minister Mike O’Brien said: “I am extremely pleased to launch this consultation that will help patients with the greatest need to benefit from and get access to exciting new innovative drugs. The Innovation Pass pilot will help collect the essential data needed to demonstrate that such drugs, which would not otherwise be available to patients, are making a big difference to their lives.”
The Innovation Pass pilot is being run in partnership with NICE and has involved significant input from a range of stakeholders including the NHS and the life sciences industries. In 2010/11 it will be funded from a £25m budget set aside exclusively for the Innovation Pass. Funding for future years is discussed in the consultation.
Drugs included on the scheme will be licensed and NICE is to play a key role in developing and applying the drug eligibility criteria for the Innovation Pass. All drugs included on the pilot will be submitted for NICE appraisal at the end of the three years.
NICE Chief Executive Andrew Dillon added: “We recognise that for a small number of very promising new treatments, the evidence available may not reveal their full potential benefits for patients. Where there is a high risk that a NICE appraisal of a new treatment at the point of its first use in the NHS might underestimate its benefits, providing the opportunity to gather more evidence and making the treatment available before undertaking an appraisal is the right thing to do.”
The Innovation Pass pilot consultation will run for 10 weeks, closing on 8th February 2010.