NICE continues to support patient access to innovative treatments

Ahead of an appearance at a King’s Fund event, NICE chairman, Sharmila Nebhrajani, discusses how NICE continues to support patient access to innovative treatments.

NICE chairman Sharmila Nebhrajani

NICE is committed to helping the health and care system bring innovation to patients sooner, at a price the taxpayer can afford. I am therefore delighted to be joining a panel of experts to take part in a King’s Fund event next week. The event, which is entitled ‘Innovation in medicines: adapting for the future’, will explore how the system can work together to make the most of innovation, while maintaining patient safety and clinical standards.

In preparing for the event, I have once again had cause to reflect on just how much the world has changed since NICE was formed 22 years ago. How we now face, and must continue rise to, new challenges in order to preserve the rigour and quality of decisions, while responding at pace to the frankly enormous changes we are witnessing across health and social care.

I believe we must adapt to this new landscape and make the most of scientific research, which has never looked as promising as it does now, to collectively harness new exciting possibilities for tackling diseases through the development of innovative medicines. Continued collaboration across the system remains vital, in order to navigate these developments and provide patients with the access to life changing and saving innovative treatments.

Take for example the Innovative Licensing and Access Pathway (ILAP) - of which NICE is a core partner. The ILAP aims to accelerate patient access to safe and innovative medicines in the UK and is delivered in partnership by the All Wales Therapeutics and Toxicology Centre, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (AWTTC), NICE, the Medicines and Healthcare

products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), and the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC), part of Health Improvement Scotland.

This initiative has is a great example of something that could lead to the delivery of rapid, robust and responsive technology evaluation that aims to deliver safe, early and financially sustainable patient access to medicines. It provides an opportunity for us to think and practice differently after our exit from the European Union and is a truly exciting development with the potential for major benefits for patients, the NHS and the life sciences industry. For NICE, it also gives us a fantastic opportunity to build on other initiatives, such as our coordination of the highly successful Research to Access Pathway for Investigational Drugs for COVID-19 (RAPID C-19). The ILAP also supports Project Orbis, a programme coordinated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), that seeks to review approve promising cancer treatments across the globe. The MHRA became a full partner of this scheme in January 2021, and I am excited to see the impact that this could continue to have in allowing partners to review and approve applications for promising cancer treatments. Although it relatively early days in terms of these initiatives, I do believe they provide, along with the new Innovative Medicine Fund (IMF) for the UK to more effectively link up licensing and access in order to bring the most innovative medicines to patients more quickly.

I hope many of you are able to join us for the King’s Fund event, I am certain it will be an enlightening and interesting discussion.

My fellow panellists at the event are:

  • Paula Head, Senior Fellow, The King’s Fund (Chair)
  • Lord Bethell of Romford, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for
  • Innovation)
  • Nick Meade, Joint Interim Chief Executive & Director of Policy, Genetic Alliance UK
  • Dr Olivia Rossanese, Interim Director of the Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics
  • Unit and Interim Head of the Division of Cancer Therapeutics, The Institute of Cancer
  • Research
  • Paul Catchpole, Value and Access Director, ABPI

If you would like to join us, registration is free via the following link Innovation in medicines | The King's Fund (

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