by Gemma Jones
LONDON, 7 June (APM) - The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) will play a bigger role in deciding which innovations should be developed, according to the Accelerated Access Collaborative's (AAC) chief executive.
The newly-revamped access programme aims to provide a "match making" service to innovators, whereby the NHS will become a more "vocal and active consumer" in helping decide which innovations manufacturers should be developing, said Dr Sam Roberts at a Westminster Health Forum event on Thursday in London.
She said that in most circumstances, "suppliers apply to push innovation into the NHS, which is in no way how a partnership should work. We want to be much more active in working with the NHS to understand what problems are being solved" and need solving.
The AAC will then work with innovators to discover solutions that could be a good match for the NHS.
The service, which will be known as demand signalling, is one of six key priorities in which the AAC aims to address (APMHE 62856
Another of the priorities announced at the forum on Thursday includes creating a single point of access for devices, diagnostics and digital services, which will provide information and guidance to company’s developing such tools for NICE assessment.
Nicola Blackwood, parliamentary undersecretary of state at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), announced the launch of the updated Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) at the annual conference of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) last month.
It expands on the existing AAC, which launched at the end of 2017 as a response to the Accelerated Access Review (AAR) (APMHE 55447
). In its previous form, the AAC identified a small number of breakthrough therapies each year to receive extra support for early access via an Accelerated Access Pathway (APMHE 58778
While the AAC also covers medicines, Roberts said on Thursday that its broader remit will allow it to provide support to those developing innovative devices, diagnostics and digital products.
She said unlike medicines, which have a "relatively clear path from development through to regulation", a well-curated path for devices and diagnostics and additional products does not exist.
As a starting point, the AAC aims to launch a website by the end of this year, to offer decision support such as identifying a manufacturer's product type, providing funding and evidence information as well as highlighting some of the NHS’ needs.
Roberts added that the AAC hopes to build on this by being able to provide clarity on the evidence required from prototype of product through to NICE appraisal, but this will be a "big job" as advice will differ for each product.