NHS widens access, relaxes drug fees

The UK's National Health Service will now allow patients to receive NHS care even if they privately pay for drugs, and will implement measures to increase access to NHS-covered treatments. 

Alan Johnson, the UK's health secretary, overturned a rule that had previously banned patients from receiving services if they paid for their own medications. At the same time, Michael Richards, the National Cancer Director, published a report that showed government plans to work on new pricing arrangements for new drugs as well as speed up the appraisal and approval process for new medications.

As a result, the public will have greater access to drugs for cancer and other terminal conditions. The move ends what some have called a "cruel practice" that prevented individuals from purchasing certain medications by removing other NHS benefits.

- see the full story at the Financial Times