Scottish government announces review of how medicines are assessed for NHS use

Community pharmacists in Scotland are being given an increased role in a NHS out-of-hours service, following review into urgent care. Scottish health secretary Shona Robison (pictured) says it will form the framework for the future of out-of-hours care

The Scottish government has announced an independent review into the way that new drugs are assessed for use in the NHS that will report back to ministers by mid 2016.

It will consider the impact of changes made to the system run by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) introduced two years ago which gave patients and clinicians greater say in access to drugs to treat rare and end-of-life conditions.

The review will also look more generally at how well the current system works in giving all patients in Scotland quick access to newly licensed medicines on the NHS.

Announcing the review on 31 January 2016, health secretary Shona Robison said access to medicines specifically for rare and end-of-life conditions was an “extremely complex” issue.

“Since we introduced our £90m new medicines fund and made changes to the SMC process in 2014, 26 medicines have been approved under the new system, and together with other reforms have benefitted over 1,000 patients in Scotland,” she said.

“However, with new treatments coming to market all the time, it is important to take stock of the progress to date to continually assure ourselves that our systems for assessing and accessing new drugs are keeping pace and meeting the expectations of patients. An important part of this is that the NHS pays a fair price for these new drugs.”

The review will be led by Brian Montgomery, the former NHS medical director for NHS Fife. 

Last updated
Citation
The Pharmaceutical Journal, February 2016;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2016.20200600