Health Secretary Vaughan Gething will today update Assembly Members on the Welsh Government’s New Treatment Fund, six months after it was officially opened for business.
The New Treatment Fund makes £80 million available over the life of this government, £16m annually, to speed up access to the very latest medicines recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG).
Under the new system, all health boards in Wales are required to make a NICE or AWMSG recommended medicine available no later than two months from the date the final guidance is published, shortening the maximum amount of time before which a health board must make a treatment available by a third.
As of 9 June, there were 17 applicable medicines available under the New Treatment Fund.
Six health boards have made all 17 medicines available. One health board, Cardiff & Vale University Health Board, made 15 of the 17 recommended medicines available within the two months, however all 17 medicines are now available.
Welcoming the progress made so far, Vaughan Gething said:
“I’m pleased that our new treatment fund is working, delivering swift access to innovative new medicines to support people with life-threatening conditions in Wales.
“In January, when I launched the New Treatment Fund, I said a concerted, joint effort was needed between the pharmaceutical industry, NHS Wales and Welsh Government to deliver a sustainable and responsive approach to the introduction of new medicines.
“This was illustrated effectively just last month when the new breast cancer treatment, Kadcyla™, was made available quickly because the manufacturer engaged with NHS Wales to secure an early agreement.
“It’s good to see we are making good progress, but I expect to see this continue over the five-year period of the fund.
“In the first two months, health board compliance showed some variation in the availability of recommended medicines. I am glad to see that has now been rectified and positive progress has been made so people in Wales can benefit from this potentially life changing policy.”