New Treatment Fund is improving and prolonging lives across Wales
13 Feb 2019 11:31 AM
The Welsh Government’s New Treatment Fund, which speeds up patient access to the latest, potentially life improving and life-prolonging medicines, continues to go from strength to strength - that was the message from Health Minister Vaughan Gething as he celebrated two years of the Fund being available in Wales.
Introduced in January 2017, the New Treatment Fund speeds up access to medicines recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG).
The Fund has shortened the timeframe in which new medicines must be made available from 90 days to 60. Due to its success, the average time taken to make medicines available has fallen to an average of 17 days.
The Welsh Government is providing £16 million annually to health boards and Velindre NHS Trust over the five years of this Government - £80m in total – for the New Treatment Fund.
This substantial investment in NHS Wales demonstrates the Welsh Government's commitment to ensuring that patients receive the latest recommended treatments quickly, no matter where they live in Wales.
One of the new drugs that has been made available thanks to the New Treatment Fund is the breast cancer drug Palbociclib, which was recommended by NICE for routine use in November 2017. The drug blocks the growth and spread of the cancer.
According to the latest figures available, 73 women in Wales are now receiving Palbociclib and the numbers are expected to grow.
Vaughan Gething yesterday said:
“Our New Treatment Fund is improving and prolonging lives across Wales.
“Due to the success of the Fund, the average time taken to make medicines available has fallen considerably. We have reached and far exceeded our 60-day target, which is a great achievement and is making a very real difference to people’s lives.
“We are seeing our patients get faster access to the full range of new medicines coming through the appraisal pipeline from NICE and AMWSG. This includes new medicines to treat arthritis, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, asthma and breast cancer to name just a few.
“The prompt availability of Palbociclib, widely considered to be a game-changer in the treatment and management of metastatic breast cancer, is a prime example of the New Treatment Fund delivering what the Welsh Government intended.
“I am enormously proud of what we have achieved in the last two years and I want to see the Fund continue to go from strength to strength. The people of Wales deserve only the best.”