Drug industry keen on new NHS trials
Britain's drug industry has welcomed Government plans to trial new drugs ahead of approval by the regulatory body as having the potential to deliver "a truly transformational change".
By Graham Ruddick
Published: 6:31PM BST 14 Jul 2009
The Office for Life Sciences (OLS), led by Lord Drayson, is proposing an "Innovation Pass", which will make it easier for companies to get their products to market, especially those for illnesses that affect only a small number of people.
The three-year scheme will be piloted from 2010/2011 with a budget of £25m. It will see innovative drugs that have gone through the initial three phases of trial be used by the NHS before approval by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice), which decides what medicines the health service should purchase and for how much.
The proposals are part of a "Life Sciences Blueprint" designed to boost pharmaceutical groups and biotechnology companies. The scheme also includes a commitment to consider a "patent box" incentive, a lower rate of tax on profits derived from products with patents located in the UK.
Andrew Witty, the chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline, said: "Delivery of the 'patent box', the evolution of Nice and the NHS as catalysts for innovation, and the development of world-class life science clusters will be critical to the Blueprint's success."
Richard Barker, director-general of the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry, said: "The OLS blueprint charts a course of action which is both sound and welcome. When the ship is steered safely home, it will deliver a transformational change for the life sciences industry in the UK."