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The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) launched a new Innovative Medicines Fund on Tuesday (June 7) under which £340 million has been made available to purchase potentially life-saving drugs early.

This will allow NHS patients in England to have early access to potentially life-saving and cutting-edge treatments

Health secretary Sajid Javid said: “I want NHS patients to be the first in the world to access the most promising and revolutionary treatments that could extend or save their lives.

“The launch of the Innovative Medicines Fund delivers another manifesto pledge and will fast-track cutting-edge medicines to adults and children to give people renewed hope for a better future.”

A total of £680 million has been ringfenced for the Innovative Medicines Fund and Cancer Drugs Fund – £340 million each – to fast-track medicines to NHS patients.

DHSC said: “The Innovative Medicines Fund will provide quick access to novel treatments, including potentially lifesaving gene therapies for serious conditions with few treatment options. It often takes longer for pharmaceutical companies to collect data on a medicine’s clinical and cost effectiveness for rare diseases due to the smaller patient cohort.

“Rather than making patients wait until this date is available, this new scheme will allow access while this important process takes place, with support from NHS England and NICE.”

In response to the new innovative medicines fund announcement, ABPI chief executive Richard Torbett said: “The Innovative Medicines Fund provides an important opportunity to support NHS patients in getting early access to promising new treatments, including those with rare diseases.

“If patients are to see maximum benefit from the Fund, industry, the NHS and NICE will need to work closely together to ensure there are no unnecessary barriers for medicines to enter it.  We look forward to seeing more detail on how the Fund will operate in practice.”

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