Early Access to Medicines Scheme

The Early Access to Medicines Scheme (EAMS) helps to give people with life threatening or seriously debilitating conditions early access to new medicines that do not yet have a marketing authorisation but where there is a clear unmet medical need.

By promoting early engagement between companies, and key AAC partners including MHRA, NICE and NHS England and NHS Improvement, EAMS also helps to create a smoother route to market for new treatments.

EAMS is a key part of our commitment to accelerate patient access to innovative, life changing treatments, and support the UK’s position as a global leader in life sciences.

Since the scheme launched in 2014, over 1,200 people with conditions ranging from cancer to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, from across the UK, have benefited from early access to new treatments through EAMS.

Case study: Treating advanced renal cell carcinoma

One product supported under EAMS was the combination of avelumab and axitinib to treat advanced renal cell carcinoma in adults, a type of kidney cancer that has spread locally outside of the kidney or distantly to other parts of the body. It is used when no other specific treatments have been given for this stage of the disease.

Dr Balaji Venugopal, Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer at University of Glasgow, said:

‘EAMS offers an excellent opportunity for patients to access drugs within the NHS in areas of unmet need. For patients with advanced kidney cancer, the clinical trial has shown that the combination of avelumab and axitinib significantly extends the time without worsening of cancer and shrinks the cancer when compared against available standards.

‘A significant number of patients have benefited in this clinical trial and through EAMS patients can access this combination in routine clinical practice as quickly as possible.’

More information on the scheme and how to apply can be found on the website.