The Department for Health and Social Care announced the new fund on 6 June 2022 saying it will allow NHS patients earlier access to potentially life-saving and cutting-edge treatments.
Up to £340 million has been made available to support NHS England in offering patients potentially transformative new drugs while further real-world evidence is collected to inform a final decision by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) on whether the treatment is clinically effective and cost-effective.
The Innovative Medicines Fund supports the government’s Rare Diseases Action Plan to ensure people living with rare conditions benefit from faster diagnosis, treatments and support to manage their conditions.
Since 2021 some individuals living with spinal muscular atrophy, have been eligible to access novel treatments in a similar way through a Managed Access Agreement, with Muscular Dystrophy UK as an advisory committee member.
Rob Burley, Director of Care, Communications and Support at Muscular Dystrophy UK said:
“In recent years there has been exciting progress in the development of treatments for some of the 60-plus muscle-wasting conditions that affect over 110,000 people across the UK.
These conditions are progressive, and some are life-limiting, so it is vital that when a treatment is proven to be safe and effective, it is made accessible to the people who could benefit at the earliest opportunity.
“The Innovative Medicines Fund is a positive step and has the potential to help overcome the inequality of access to treatments that faces people living with rare conditions. We look forward to further clarity about how the treatments will be accessed through the fund.
“It’s also hugely important that Neuromuscular services are fully resourced to support the roll-out of new treatments and to support patients for whom no treatments are currently available, so that everyone with a muscle-wasting condition has access to high quality and comprehensive multi-disciplinary care.”