£80m new drugs fund for Wales by end of year

Drugs research Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption There will also be a review into the process of applying for drugs in exceptional cases

A new £80m fund to help patients in Wales with life-threatening illnesses get quicker access to innovative and new medicines has been confirmed.

Health Secretary Vaughan Gething said he anticipated the fund will be in place by December.

It will provide 12 months of funding for new drugs that have been determined to be cost effective by experts.

It will allow drugs to adopted more quickly before health boards take over paying for their delivery.

The new treatments fund was a key commitment in Labour's Assembly election manifesto.

Mr Gething has also confirmed the Welsh Government will hold a review of the process of applying for medicines that have not been approved as cost-effective by experts groups.

The review will look at the consistency of decisions across the Welsh NHS and consider the eligibility criteria for patients applying for medicines through what is known as the Individual Patient Funding Request (IPFR) route.

At present a patient needs to be considered an "exceptional case" for funding to be approved.

Concerns had been raised that a postcode lottery existed in accessing drugs through the IPFR route.

Mr Gething said the review had been established following discussions with opposition parties.

It was a key part of the Labour-Plaid deal which allowed Carwyn Jones to become first minister.

Jon Antoniazzi, policy officer for Tenovus Cancer Care, said: "It's good to see Welsh Government being open in their approach to tackling some of the inconsistencies patient campaigners have identified with the current process of high cost drug funding in Wales, following on from their negotiations with Plaid Cymru."

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