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New drugs from labs 'as quickly and safely possible'

Officials said the review would examine how precision medicine and digital health technology could enable new products to be brought from the laboratory "as quickly and safely possible".

"This will transform the landscape of drug development from the 20th-century model to a world century model to a world in which the NHS becomes a partner in innovative testing, proving and adopting new drugs and devices in research studies with real patients," Mr Freeman told The Times.

"For too long NHS patients have seen drugs and innovations developed in the UK but not adopted here in our NHS.

"We are determined to unlock the power of our NHS to be a test-bed for the 21st-century medical innovations we all need, getting NHS patients faster access, reducing the cost of drug development and boosting our life science sector."

Plan to cut time taken for patients to receive new drugs

Ministers are promising to cut years off the time it takes for National Health Service patients to receive life-saving new drugs.

The Government is launching a review looking into a radical overhaul of the way that promising new drugs are tested and cleared for approval.

Plan to cut time taken for patients to receive new drugs. Credit: PA

Life sciences minister George Freeman said unlocking the power of the NHS to be a "test-bed" for new medical innovations could dramatically reduce the time it takes for patients to gain access to new treatments.

The Department of Health said a fresh approach was being made possible by ground-breaking developments in genomics and digital technology.

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'Smart drugs' worth £200,000 seized in Midlands raid

A batch of so-called smart drugs worth £200,000 - including substances never tested on humans - has been found in the largest seizure of apparent intelligence-enhancing drugs in the UK.

Around 20,000 units of 13 different "cognitive enhancers" were taken in the raid on a lock-up in the Midlands after a tip off via Norwegian customs.

The drugs have been targeted at students because they aid concentration and ward off sleep.

A spokesperson for the medicines regulator that carried out the raid confirmed a man had been cautioned. He added:

This is a recent and very worrying trend. The idea that people are willing to put their overall health at risk in order to attempt to get an intellectual edge over others is deeply troubling.

– Alastair Jeffrey, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency's head of enforcement

While it would be legal to possess the seized drugs, it is illegal to sell or supply prescription-only or unlicensed medicines.

Cocaine 'worth £62m' seized by Irish Navy

Credit: PA Wire

Cocaine worth £62 million has been seized aboard a yacht off the coast of Ireland, the Irish Navy has said.

The 60 foot vessel called Makayabella was intercepted some 200 nautical miles off Mizen Head - Ireland's most southerly point - in the early hours of yesterday morning but details have only recently emerged.

Three British men, believed to be from West Yorkshire, were apprehended by armed naval personnel on the yacht and were arrested on shore by the Garda.

If the haul is confirmed, it will be one of biggest drugs seizures at sea in Europe this year.

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Heroin addicts to be given free foil by health bodies

Free foil will be given to heroin addicts by health bodies in a bid to help them beat the drug.

Free foil will be given to heroin addicts. Credit: REUTERS/Katrina Manson

The Government hopes the move will encourage users to inhale rather than inject class A substances.

Health professionals, including both the NHS and privately run treatment centres, will be legally allowed to issue the foil from next month.

By allowing foil to be legally provided by healthcare professionals we are taking another positive step in reducing the number of individuals, families and communities whose lives are destroyed by drugs.

The decision was made on the condition that it is part of structured efforts to get individuals off drugs and will minimise the risk of spreading viruses like HIV, while encouraging more addicts to engage with support services.

– Crime prevention minister Norman Baker
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