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Five new medicines to be fast-tracked annually to NHS patients

From BBC - November 2, 2017

The government has announced a plan to speed up the time it takes for new, life-changing medicines to reach patients.

From April 2018, around five drugs or devices will be selected by a panel of experts for fast-tracking each year.

This could mean they are available up to four years earlier than normal, ministers said.

The pharmaceutical industry and charities welcomed the news, saying it was a step in the right direction.

The former head of drug company GlaxoSmithKline, Sir Andrew Witty, will lead the panel deciding on which products should be selected.

Time will be saved by reducing the time taken for new breakthrough products to get through the NHS's appraisal and approval processes.

Under the new plans, ministers said a flash glucose monitor for people with type 1 diabetes, which means they no longer have to prick their fingers to monitor glucose levels, could have been made available more quickly on the NHS.

It became available on NHS prescription across the UK this month.

Funding boost

As part of the plans, there will also be financial support for companies to help them develop their treatments more quickly.

'Transformative therapies'

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