Review of Access to New Medicines

An independent review to assess the impact of the new approach introduced in 2014 by Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC).

1 Preface

1.1 I was pleased to be asked by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport to undertake this independent Review of Access to New Medicines and specifically of the impact of the new approach introduced by the Scottish Medicines Consortium ( SMC) in 2014 with the aim of increasing access to end-of-life, orphan and ultra-orphan medicines.

1.2 I brought to the Review the perspectives and experiences of a practising clinician and of a Territorial Health Board Medical Director who had latterly spent time as the Board's Interim Chief Executive.

1.3 My aim has been to reflect the views and perspectives of the range of stakeholders who contributed enthusiastically and candidly to this Review. The different stakeholder groups brought a range of perspectives, differing priorities and sometimes conflicting views. I am extremely grateful to everyone who contributed to the Review. My hope is that they feel their views have been considered and presented in a way that is accurate, balanced and constructive.

1.4 By its nature a Review of this sort can appear to focus on negatives or adopt a critical tone. I sought to produce a report that is candid, rooted in reality and which offers constructive criticism. None of the criticism is directed at individuals; it refers to processes and roles. The message is that the impact being sought by the new approach has been achieved however even more can be done to further improve the system and processes, making them more effective and better able to deal with the challenges that lie ahead.

1.5 I must stress that in the course of the Review I encountered high levels of satisfaction with SMC and its processes and more widely with the treatment and care being provided by NHSScotland.

1.6 I would also like to acknowledge the encouragement and support I have received from colleagues throughout the Review. In particular I would like to highlight the open and constructive engagement of SMC colleagues and the advice and support provided by Louise Hester, John Hannah, Kathryn Fergusson and Elisabeth Campbell of the Pharmacy & Medicines Division at the Scottish Government.

Brian Montgomery
October 2016


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