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Review of Access to New Medicines Report

The Scottish Government has published Dr Brian Montgomery’s Review of Access to New Medicines, which assesses the impact of the new approach introduced in 2014 by SMC and sets out how the process for appraising medicines can be made even more open, transparent and robust.

The review found SMC acceptance rates had increased following recent reforms, with the combined assessment rates for orphan/cancer medicines increasing from 48% between November 2011 and October 2013, to 75% between May 2014 and March 2016.

Launching the report, Cabinet Secretary for Health & Sport, Shona Robison, said: 

“The reforms I am announcing today will help more patients to get better access to treatments that can give them longer, better quality lives. The Scottish Government, the SMC and the NHS have worked hard to reform access to new medicines.” 

Dr Montgomery said: 

“The key finding from the review was that access to end-of-life, orphan and ultra-orphan medicines has increased. This was confirmed by the feedback received from a wide range of stakeholders who engaged with the review.  Stakeholders also expressed greater satisfaction with the new approach adopted by the SMC. The review goes on to highlight the challenge in maintaining the increased levels of access in the future, particularly at a time when an increasing number of exciting new treatments are expected to become available for a number of conditions.”

In response to the publication of the report, Professor Jonathan Fox, Chair of the Scottish Medicines Consortium, said:

“We welcome the publication of Dr Montgomery’s review into access to new medicines for patients in Scotland. We are pleased to note his key conclusion that the new approaches SMC has introduced have increased access to new medicines used at the end of life and for very rare conditions.

“We are also reassured that the individuals and groups consulted during the review indicated a high level of satisfaction with the current situation.SMC fully supports patient access to clinically effective new medicines at a price that is fair for all and we agree it is vital that our processes continue to evolve and improve. We will carefully consider Dr Montgomery’s recommendations and work with NHS Boards, patient groups and the pharmaceutical industry to implement these in order to further improve appropriate access to new medicines.”