NHS England’s plan to eliminate Hepatitis C decisively backed by High Court
NHS England’s plan to eliminate Hepatitis C in England by 2025 is on track after all aspects of a High Court challenge by pharmaceutical company AbbVie were dismissed.
The NHS’s single largest medicines procurement, a deal worth almost £1 billion over five years, was launched in April last year but contract start dates had to be delayed by six months after legal action by AbbVie.
The High Court today handed down the judgment decisively backing NHS England’s plans to eliminate Hepatitis C.
In the ruling, the judge rejected all challenges brought by AbbVie against NHS England’s smart procurement for the supply of curative, direct acting antiviral treatments and industry backed projects to find and treat people with the virus as quickly as possible.
John Stewart, director of specialised commissioning at NHS England, said: “Court cases such as this are a waste of NHS resources and taxpayers’ money, in this case resulting in an unavoidable delay in our efforts to tackle the threat of Hepatitis C, which disproportionately affects some of the most vulnerable and marginalised people in society.
“We remain committed to driving best value to help eliminate Hepatitis C in England by 2025 or sooner, and with this court case behind us we can now get on with the job.”
Hepatitis C is a cancer-causing infectious disease, spread by contact with an infected person’s blood.
In recent years, Public Health England estimated that around 160,000 people are infected with Hepatitis C in England, although around half are unaware of their infection.
The disease, which can go undetected until the liver becomes damaged, can now be successfully cured in weeks using new oral tablets.
In 2015, NHS England established 22 Operational Delivery Networks (ODNs) to support treatment and testing efforts across the country and over 32,000 patients have been treated so far with around 95% being cured of the disease. NHS England plans to eliminate Hepatitis C in England by 2025, five years earlier than World Health Organisation goals.
The Hepatitis C procurement is the latest in a series of ‘smart deals’ the NHS has delivered to drive value for the taxpayer and benefits for patients.
These include a £300 million saving after negotiating deals with five manufacturers on low cost versions of the health service’s most costly drug, adalimumab; striking the first full access deal in Europe for CAR-T therapy which can potentially cure some children and adults with blood cancers where other treatments have failed; and reaching a deal to make the life-extending lung cancer drug pembrolizumab, available for routine use on the NHS.
Latest News from
More convenient cancer screening services must be rolled out to boost uptake, says Professor Sir Mike Richards24/05/2019 15:10:00
The NHS should roll out online booking, out of hours appointments and text reminders to boost the uptake of breast, cervical and other screening services, leading expert Professor Sir Mike Richards said today.
NHS invests £5 million to improve care for people with a learning disability21/05/2019 15:15:00
The NHS has today announced that an additional £5 million will fund reviews to improve care for people with a learning disability and committed to renewed national action to tackle serious conditions.
National Heroes Service: GPs told ‘our veterans need you’20/05/2019 14:15:00
NHS chiefs have urged family doctors to enlist in a scheme improving care for thousands of armed forces veterans and their families.
NHS England to fund first ever treatment for children with rare muscle-wasting condition16/05/2019 09:15:00
NHS England will provide a promising new treatment which can prolong the lives of children with a rare genetic condition after negotiating a deal with the manufacturer.
NHS funds tech to protect prostate cancer patients during radiation treatment14/05/2019 09:15:00
An innovation that can reduce the side-effects of radiotherapy for prostate cancer patients by over 70 per cent will be rolled out across the NHS, as part of the Long Term Plan to put cutting-edge treatments at the heart of people’s care.
Army of NHS experts brought in to care homes to tackle over-medication13/05/2019 09:15:00
An army of experts have been recruited by NHS England to help prevent care home residents being given too many medicines as part of a package of measures to improve older people’s health and care in the NHS Long Term Plan.
NHS England strikes deal to make innovative Multiple Sclerosis drug available, paving the way for NICE recommendation09/05/2019 15:47:00
Patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) will have routine access to a drug that can slow disability under a deal struck between NHS England and the manufacturer Roche, paving the way for its approval by NICE.
NHS England funds £2million to boost system-wide leadership development09/05/2019 09:15:00
NHS England has funded a £2million programme to help 23 areas kick-start or boost leadership development activities to support and inspire workforce in health systems across England from GPs, consultants and therapists to nurses, social workers and managers.