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NHS drug gamble for desperate patients

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NHS patients could be given access to drugs that have not been fully developed.


The government's new early access proposals would open up new drugs to patients with no other option a year earlier than they would otherwise be made available.


Patients who are seriously ill and have no other hope of being treated or having their life extended are expected to benefit from the move.


It can take up to 20 years for drugs to be fully developed until the NHS prescribes them. Under the proposals the government would open up cutting-edge drugs up to one year earlier than usual.


Patients' decisions are to be informed by advice on the risks and benefits of using promising new drugs issued by the Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The medicines watchdog will issue recommendations on drugs that are not yet fully licensed, which could mean patients get access to them before anywhere else in the world.

Private medical insurance news: 8 December 2011