Access to new treatments in UK criticised

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The UK is performing “poorly” in getting the newest medicines to patients, according to the drugs industry.

Stephen Whitehead, chief executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), said one of the reasons health outcomes are lagging behind the rest of Europe was because of access to treatments.

He said the newest drugs can transform patient health and reduce care costs by keeping people out of hospital.

Mr Whitehead made his comments after a new report by IMS Health examined the reasons why some patients do not receive 
recommended treatments in England.

The barriers noted in the report include funding confusion, gaps in diagnostic services and differing interpretations of guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), the body which recommends which drugs should be used in the health service.

Mr Whitehead said: “Medicines are absolutely essential to the NHS.”