Access to new medicines: Scottish patients still on the sidelines?

Prostate Cancer UK calls for greater action to create a transparent and open system, with patients at its heart.

Commenting on the Scottish Government’s proposals on access to new medicines, Head of Policy & Campaigns at Prostate Cancer UK, Drew Lindon, said:

"Prostate Cancer UK has long argued that the current system for approving new medicines in Scotland requires greater transparency, clarity and consistency. Whilst there’s much in today’s report we welcome – such as proposals to improve access to end of life treatments and reform of the IPTR process – it remains unclear that enough is being done to put patients at the heart of the system.

"For example, whilst it is to be welcomed that SMC drug appraisal meetings will now be open to the public, it would appear that patients will still be effectively shut out of the process. They can watch proceedings, but will they be permitted to contribute or provide written evidence?  Equally, patient interest groups - such as Prostate Cancer UK - can now attend, but will we be permitted to contribute to the meetings?

"In England, patients, patient interest groups and their nominated clinical specialists can give both oral and written evidence to inform drug appraisal meetings. After today’s proposed reforms it remains unclear whether their Scottish counterparts will be afforded the same opportunities. What do people in England have to deserve these rights that people in Scotland don’t?

"The Government’s proposals are due to be debated in the Scottish Parliament later this week. We would urge politicians of all parties to call on the Government to strengthen these proposals to put patients at the heart of both the drug appraisal system and the new system for Value Based Pricing. Only by so doing can we deliver the genuinely open and transparent system that the people of Scotland both require and deserve. Prostate Cancer UK will not rest until this has been delivered, and remain committed to working with all relevant stakeholders to make this a reality."

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