Our roundup of the week's top stories...
UK approves monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19
The MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency) has approved the first monoclonal antibody treatment for preventing and treating acute COVID-19.
Ronapreve was developed by Regeneron/Roche and is administered by either injection or infusion. The drug acts on the lining of the respiratory system, binding tightly to the coronavirus and preventing it from accessing the cells of the system.
In clinical trials, Ronapreve was seen to prevent infection, promote resolution of symptoms of acute COVID-19, and reduce the likelihood of being admitted to hospital.
NICE revamp promises "faster, fairer" access
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), England's cost-effectiveness watchdog, has rolled out a planned remodel and says it will revamp the ways it reviews drugs, devices, and diagnostics.
The revamp aims to provide "faster, fairer" access to the drugs and devices it review for NHS patients. NICE has long faced scrutiny for restricting access to new and promising treatments, while calling for steep discounts from pharma companies.
This move comes on the back of a "wide-ranging and comprehensive review" and, as a result of findings, NICE says it will simplify and streamline assessment process to make room for more flexible decision making, especially for medicines that treat rare diseases or those that affect children.