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Tuesday 18th June 2019

New drugs approval 'overly complex'

20th September 2012

Fears have been raised to MSPs over an apparent postcode lottery on the prescribing of new drugs in Scotland.

Drugs & Money

The claims were outlined before the Holyrood Parliament’s health committee where MSPs were told that about a third of requests for new medicines were rejected on average.

The committee heard from representatives of the Scottish Medicines Consortium, clinicians and drug companies.

Among the concerns raised was that by Labour committee member Dr Richard Simpson over the number of different bodies making decisions on describing with some14 different organisations involved.

Other MSPs called for a reduction in the bureaucracy surrounding access to new medicines.

In Scotland, the Scottish Medicines Consortium approves a new medicine and individual doctors and clinicians make the decision on prescribing, which has led to the concerns over different criteria being applied in different parts of the country.

Figures also suggest that the uptake of new medicines in Scotland was lower compared to the rest of the UK.

Professor Angela Timoney, chair of the Scottish Medicines Consortium, said that current guidance requires health boards to consider the advice on medicines that the Consortium deems to be value for money and make that product or its therapeutic equivalent available.

She said she believed the system was working.

The Scottish government rejected the claims of inconsistency and said there was no postcode lottery with the system offering “an opportunity for NHS boards to consider the needs of individual patients on a case by case basis, based on their expert clinical opinion.”


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