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13th March 2018
Following last years’ published government plans and 2016’s Accelerated Access Review, the UK is set to launch the long awaited Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC), which aims to fast-track innovations into the NHS. We look at what this means for healthcare SMEs, wanting to get their products adopted.
From April, five drugs or medical devices, will be placed in a new fast-track Accelerated Access Pathway (AAP) each year, “complimenting existing activities” and ensuring their uptake into the NHS much sooner than would otherwise be possible.
In the Government’s own words, the objective of the policy is to:
“…reduce unnecessary delays or barriers to the use of selected technologies which generate greater net patient benefits – and thereby increase the overall benefits realised from the NHS budget. Additional intended benefits are: to reduce the costs to companies of gaining approval for their products; and to increase investment in UK R&D.”
The ACC will be chaired by former CEO of GSK, Sir Andrew Witty, who will help co-ordinate the decision-making process on which new innovations are selected. NICE will play a key role as Secretariat, determining “meaningful and measurable” metrics for the policy and the ACC will also include one of the NHS regulators, NHS Improvement, the NIHR, MHRA and NHS England as well as Government.
So, what does this mean for healthcare SMEs?
By streamlining costly and lengthy processes, SMEs are expected to gain much faster access to the UK market – including gaining approval for products, such as digital innovations, that show potential in improving quality of life and delivering maximum benefits in patient care.
This bodes well for both patients and businesses and is particularly important in a post-Brexit UK. By creating favourable conditions for the health and life sciences sector, the AAC sends out a clear message that the UK is open for business and is proactively encouraging growth in R&D, manufacturing and employment. This allows new innovators to thrive, particularly in the Northern Powerhouse where so much of this healthcare innovation has the potential to come from.
We eagerly wait to learn, which five innovations will be announced come April and whether the AAC commits to its plan long term.