"People with advanced cancer and other serious illnesses like dementia could soon benefit from early access to innovative and promising treatments.
"The Early Access to Medicines scheme would enable safe and promising drugs to be 'fast tracked' into the NHS before they have even been granted a licence for use.
"The new scheme will allow patients without other treatment options to be given experimental drugs that have not yet been licensed but that have been deemed safe and effective through clinical trials.
"Experts will carry out a rapid analysis of the treatment before labelling it a 'promising innovative medicine'.
"The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will then offer a scientific opinion based on a medicine’s risks and benefits. If the benefits are found to outweigh the risks, doctors will be given the green light to offer the drug to patients."
Editor's Note: This UK program is similar to a program already in place in the US that allows patients to request access to drugs still being tested in clinical trials. Even though so-called "compassionate access" is possible, the process can be quite difficult for patients. Learn more about it from our blog feature on the topic.