A central fund worth £80m that will pay for the immediate use of new, high-cost medicines that are approved for use in Wales has been announced by Vaughan Gething, cabinet secretary for health for the Welsh government.
The Welsh government fund will become available in 2016 to pay for high-cost medicines for the 12 months after they are approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence or the All-Wales Medicines Strategy Group. After that, funding for such medicines is expected to be provided by regional health boards.
“It is essential the fund is operated transparently and is widely understood,” says Gething. “During the summer we will be working hard to define the criteria and mechanisms that will be needed to manage the fund effectively.” The fund was pledged by Welsh Labour in its manifesto for the Welsh Assembly elections, which took place earlier in 2016.
Gething also confirmed there would be a review of the individual patient funding request process for medicines that are not yet approved for use. He explained the review was intended to “ensure better consistency of decisions across Wales and make recommendations about what clinical criteria should be applied when determining [patient eligibility for funding]”.