New fund to fast-track medicines and treatments in the NHS

A new Innovative Medicines Fund has been launched by NHS England, aiming to fast-track new medicines and drug treatments.

The new fund will dedicate £340 million to speeding up medicines and will act in a similar fashion to the Cancer Drugs Fund, which was also backed by £340 million. Patients will get early access to treatments that use ‘cutting-edge’ medical techniques and which show clinically promising results.

NHS Chief Executive, Simon Stevens, said: “Tens of thousands of patients have already benefitted from the reformed Cancer Drugs Fund and the new Innovative Medicines Fund will mean all patients – not just those with cancer – will benefit from early access to the most promising and innovative treatments, backed by £680m of ringfenced funds.

“The NHS Long Term Plan is leading to fast-track access for innovative, cutting-edge therapies, at the same time as the NHS has also been treating more than 400,000 COVID hospitalised patients and delivering the fastest and largest vaccination campaign in our history.

“In the last year, NHS England has successfully negotiated deals for a range of new treatments, including drugs which may allow toddlers with spinal muscular atrophy the chance to walk thanks to the ‘world’s most expensive drug’, as well as giving cystic fibrosis patients the latest medicines against their debilitating disease. This new fund will build on these successes, offering hope to even more patients.”

The finalised fund will be subject to public consultation and will involve discussions with patient groups, pharmaceutical companies and other stakeholders.