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Innovative Drugs and Medical Devices

Volume 621: debated on Tuesday 7 February 2017

9. What plans the Government have to increase access for patients to innovative drugs and medical devices. (908630)

The challenges facing our health system are significant, so we do need to improve the uptake of those innovative technologies that can improve efficiency and patient outcomes to help to meet that challenge, while also providing a pool for investment for innovators. By capitalising on advances in genomics, data, digital health and informatics, the accelerated access review will improve access to cost-effective new products.

I know that the Minister will agree with me when I say that it is vital that we endeavour to ensure that the NHS gets better value for money for the drugs bill so that we can afford to get more of the latest innovative products to patients more quickly, but does she also agree that much more work needs to be done alongside the accelerated access review and the forthcoming life sciences strategy to achieve that objective?

I completely agree with my hon. Friend. Medicines are the second highest area of spending in the NHS after staff, and it is vital that the NHS gets best value from that investment. That is why I am pleased that the House supported our recent Bill on the cost of medicines and medicine supplies, which will enable us to tackle unjustified price rises for unbranded generic medicines. We are also working closely with NHS England to promote the use of the new wave of biosimilar medicines and to ensure cost-effective prescribing behaviour.

When will the Government publish their response to the accelerated access review, and will that include a consideration of how to improve patient access to molecular diagnostics?

20. As the Health Secretary is aware, my constituent Abi Longfellow is suffering with a rare kidney condition—dense deposit disease. What plans do the Government have to increase access to specialist drugs for those such as Abi with ultra-rare diseases? (908642)

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and NHS England are working together to better manage access to new drugs and medical technologies for rare diseases. We are also working on the UK strategy for rare diseases and its implementation. It has 51 commitments to be implemented by 2020 to improve the lives of constituents such as my hon. Friend’s.

A simple but life-saving use of medical apparatus is tube feeding. Will the Minister join me in welcoming the fact that this is Feeding Tube Awareness Week, which is raising awareness of this important issue and giving support to all the thousands of families in which children or other family members are tube fed?

I thank the hon. Gentleman for drawing our attention to this issue. Sometimes the simplest solutions are the most effective. We want to make sure that such innovations are driven across the NHS more effectively, which is exactly what our academic health service networks are there for.

17. Now that four failures have been recorded of the main drug used to protect UK patients from malaria, and scientists are warning for the first time that resistance may be increasing, will the Minister outline what further steps are being taken to tackle antimicrobial resistance in the coming years? (908639)

AMR is a global issue. We are world leaders in this, and we are working proactively with international partners to identify new and innovative approaches to the treatment of a range of challenging resistant infections, including malaria.