'Early access' drugs scheme launched for severely ill
Severely ill patients and those with rare debilitating conditions could be given new medicines years before they are licensed, under new regulations.
The Early Access to Medicines scheme would enable a small number of promising medicines to be fast-tracked.
The idea is to help patients in England with severe illnesses who have no other treatment options.
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will oversee the scheme, being launched in April.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "What patients want is sometimes to try medicines that may not be clinically proven to be effective but are clinically safe.
"We are streamlining the process so these medicines can be used much earlier - particularly if they have early promise - and that is something which will bring hope to a lot of patients."
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