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Access to medicines

Welsh Labour pledge to create £80m central fund for high cost drugs

Carwyn Jones, First Minister of the National Welsh Assembly

Source: National Assembly For Wales / Wikimedia Commons

First Minister Carwyn Jones announced that a new treatment fund will make sure people in Wales have fast access to new treatments as soon as they are approved

Welsh Labour has pledged to create an £80m central fund to pay for high cost medicines if they retain control of the National Assembly for Wales following the election on 5 May 2016.

The fund will pay for medicines that treat a spectrum of illnesses, not just cancer, once they are approved by either the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence or the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group. Health boards will be expected to pick up the costs of funding these treatments within a year.

Announcing the proposed fund, First Minister Carwyn Jones said: “Our new treatment fund will make sure … people in Wales have fast access to [innovative] treatments for all conditions as soon as they are approved.”

The Welsh government has been criticised in recent years after reports of patients moving to England to gain access to treatments available via the Cancer Drugs Fund. In 2015, Mary Burrows, a former chief executive of the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, moved from North Wales to London to receive treatment for breast cancer through the NHS. 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2016.20201010

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