Speeding up access to new medicines in Scotland: abbreviated process

A process brought in to streamline decision making around access to new medicines in NHSScotland during the COVID-19 pandemic has proved so successful that the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has committed to use it for the longer term.

The abbreviated (therapeutic class) submission process was initially introduced in October 2020, as a temporary measure to assess new medicines where alternative medicines with a similar use and action (called same therapeutic class) had previously been accepted for use (or restricted use) by SMC. The evaluation of this process found it was extremely useful in saving resources and time for the SMC assessment teams, committees, the pharmaceutical industry and Patient Group Partners. It was agreed that this process was also valuable because it allowed SMC committees to focus on new, innovative (called first-in-class) medicines.

Overall, participants in the evaluation did not report any concerns regarding assessing medicines in a streamlined manner. They trust the capabilities and work of the SMC team when reaching a decision on the suitability of a medicine for the abbreviated route.

SMC’s partners, including the SMC Public Involvement Network (PIN) Advisory Group and the Industry User Group Forum, welcomed the process for its ability to give patients in Scotland more treatment options and access to medicines more quickly.

Read more about the process here

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