New report recommends plan for Government to accelerate access to new medicines at ‘crucial time’ for dementia


By Clare van Lynden | Monday 24 October 2016

Today sees the publication of the final report of the Accelerated Access Review, which seeks to accelerate access to all new innovations, including drugs, diagnostics and medical technologies.  The recommendations of this review will be critical in addressing the challenges new dementia treatments are likely to face and will set the scene for access to new treatments for at least the next decade.

With no new treatments for dementia in over ten years and a number of high profile new treatments in the pipeline that we hope might slow the progression of the disease, this Review comes at a crucial time for dementia research and provides an ambitious blueprint for a new era of rapid adoption of innovative treatments.

Alzheimer’s Research UK has been inputting into the review and has already set out the development, system, affordability and cultural challenges to getting new dementia treatments to people as quickly as possible, and last month we published our report Treatments of Tomorrow: preparing for breakthroughs in dementia. Addressing these challenges will involve greater preparation, cooperation and compromise across a number of bodies including the Government, the Department of Health, NICE, NHS providers, commissioners and the pharmaceutical industry – and we believe the recommendations of this review could help make sure this becomes a reality.

What’s good?

  • It’s good to see a firm commitment from the Government to the Life Sciences sector in their response to this report, this is particularly important given the potential impact of Brexit and signals R&D is a key priority for the Government’s future economic strategy.
  • The review provides some clear recommendations to speed up access to new medicines for patients, including improved horizon scanning, identifying the most transformative new products, earlier engagement with innovators, flexible pricing models and better incentives for the NHS to name just a few.
  • There is a real focus on engaging patients and charities to make this work, including a commitment to involve patients across the whole innovation pathway – this will be critical to the success of the recommendations and ensuring there is a real focus on the outcomes that matter most to patients.

What next?

The Government needs to take action. Implementation of the review’s recommendations, such as the establishment of an Accelerated Access Partnership and a new Strategic Commercial Unit at NHS England, could go a long way to helping overcome the challenges for new dementia treatments.  The government now needs to consider these proposals carefully and work with patients, charities, the NHS and innovators to implement the best of the recommendations as a priority.

Working collaboratively with patients and their representatives will be critical in making these recommendations work for the dementia treatments of tomorrow, and Alzheimer’s Research UK remains committed to doing this on behalf of people living with dementia, their families and their carers.


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About the author

Clare van Lynden

Team: Campaigning