4945 - Drugs: Finance (Answered)

Mrs Cheryl Gillan
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will take steps to establish a ring-fenced fund for (a) the provision of and (b) research into drugs for rare diseases.

George Freeman

Rare disease drugs are handled through the NHS England specialised commissioning budget. National Health Service commissioners are responsible for making funding decisions on drugs for rare diseases, taking into account guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

The Government has funding mechanisms in place for research and development relating to innovative medicines. Both the National Institute for Health Research and the Medical Research Council welcome funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including drugs for rare diseases. The usual practice of these research funders is not to ring-fence funds for expenditure on particular topics: research proposals in all areas compete for the funding available.

We take the issue of ensuring rapid access to innovative therapies very seriously, which is why we have launched an Accelerated Access Review to make recommendations to Government later in the year on speeding up access for NHS patients to innovative and cost effective new medicines, diagnostics and medical technologies.