The interim report for the long-awaited Accelerated Access Review has been published, laying out the plans for speeding up access to innovative drugs in the UK.
The authors asked stakeholders a series of questions to stimulate debate, and from the responses distilled five key propositions.
The first is to “put the patient centre-stage”, which would involve ensuring all patients have the opportunity to become active participants in decision making through better developed system architecture at every stage.
Secondly, the report says that a “radically new” and proactive approach is required to accelerate access to the most promising emerging products. This would include a more transparent decision-making process for identifying and prioritising these products, working with companies at every stage of the pathway on bespoke packages for licensing, evaluation and reimbursement, and optimal use of current flexibilities in the regulatory process. There could also be enhanced provisions for commercial access agreements and schemes.
The report also emphasised the need to ensure that the healthcare system is able to adopt new innovations at a local as well as a national level.
Another recommendation is that the NHS should be incentivised and supported to adopt new products and systems quickly and effectively in order to be an active partner in promoting innovation. These incentives could include a new earmarked fund, with proposed models including social investment, match funding and re-purposing of existing funds.
Finally, the interim report said that a new system architecture is required at local and national level to accelerate development of new products – including further developing the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs). A complementary Innovation Partnership at national level with links to the network of local Innovation Exchanges could also be set up to seamlessly manage the innovation pathway.
These propositions will now be used to frame the AAR’s next phase of engagement, where stakeholders can feed back and offer their views. This will eventually help to form the AAR’s final recommendations, which will be made to Government in a report due to be published in Spring 2016.
In response to the interim report, Rob Webster, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:
“Innovation is crucial to the future of our NHS, and most importantly for improving patient care. With increased pressures on our health service, ensuring patients have access to the latest clinically effective and cost effective technologies and treatments is crucial for delivering the best care. This must go hand in hand with the rapid decommissioning of ineffective and inefficient treatments.
“We’ve seen good engagement from many of our members in this process so far and the interim report helps to identify high-level solutions to challenges our members face in trying to innovate for the benefit of patients. The ultimate test of this review will be whether the final recommendations can be implemented rapidly, leading to improved delivery. This will require good engagement of our members in the next stage of the process and full integration with the mainstream business processes of the NHS.”