Important Statement from NRAS about access to medicines

Published: 23 Jan 2020

For some time, NRAS has been concerned that some Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have been artificially restricting access to advanced therapies (biologics, biosimilars/JAK inhibitors) and undertook a Freedom of Information request to all CCGs about this.

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Last year we asked NHS England to look into this matter as we were advocating on behalf of a small number of people who had contacted us to say that they were being denied access to a fourth advanced therapy as previous treatments had failed to control their disease adequately.

We are very pleased to inform that the NHS have just published clarification on the sequential use of biologic medicines via an Advisory Statement from the Regional Medicines Optimisation Committee which clearly states the following:

A policy adopted by a commissioner that would serve to limit patients’ access to appropriate treatments based on a number of prior treatments being attempted would be counter to the provisions of the NHS Constitution.

The NHS Constitution pledges that patients have the right to drugs and treatments that have been recommended by NICE subject to being clinically appropriate, and patients have the right to expect local decisions on the funding of drugs and treatments to be made rationally and following the proper consideration of evidence.

Clinical assessment of the appropriateness of treatments should be the overriding factor rather than the implementation of policies for cost saving reasons.”

The full statement can be found here: RMOC Advisory Statement If you are someone who has had 2 or 3 advanced therapies and may need to move on to another treatment at some point or be experiencing any difficulty in getting an advanced therapy funded, this is extremely important news, please print off this information and show it to your consultant.