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Innovative Drugs and Devices

Volume 643: debated on Tuesday 19 June 2018

16. What steps his Department is taking to support the use of innovative drugs and devices in the NHS. (905928)

The Government are committed to ensuring that innovative healthcare products reach patients faster than ever before. We have established the Accelerated Access Collaborative to identify transformative innovations and help their route to market, and today we have appointed Lord Darzi as the new chair of the AAC to lead this work.

I welcome the fact that the Prime Minister in her speech yesterday announced much more funding for personalised medicines and new technologies that will transform care. On that basis, will the Minister update the House on when the groundbreaking CAR-T— chimeric antigen receptor T-cell—therapy might be made available to NHS patients suffering from cancer?

Yes, indeed. As the cancer Minister, I consider CAR-T to be one of the most innovative and exciting treatments ever offered on the NHS. NICE is considering the first of the therapies this year and preparations are well under way. We are working closely with NHS England to make these transformative medicines available to cancer patients.

Patients with PKU—phenylketonuria—are awaiting progress on the approval of a drug called Kuvan. In the meantime, their illness is controlled by diet. Will the Secretary of State and other Members join me in Committee Room 21 after this meeting to hear about the “Diet for a day” challenge, which many Members across the House are taking up next Thursday?

Having just dialled into the Secretary of State’s diary, I know that he is going right after these questions.

Does the Minister have proposals for the reform of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency? I hope so.

We keep all our arm’s length bodies, including the MHRA, under review to provide best value for taxpayers, and we are working closely with Lord O’Shaughnessy, who is the Minister responsible for this area.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Probably the most important recommendation in the new O’Neill review into antimicrobial resistance was the requirement for diagnostics prior to the prescription of antibiotics by 2020. Will the Minister update the House on progress towards that goal, and will he agree to meet me and colleagues, including Lord O’Neill, to discuss the establishment of an antibiotic diagnostics fund?

Yes, the Government’s response to Lord O’Neill’s review in 2016 set out new ambitions building on existing progress, including ensuring that tests on epidemiological data are used to support clinical decision making and delivering high-quality diagnostics in the NHS in support of our other ambitions. My hon. Friend is right to raise this issue, and I am happy to meet him.