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The U.K. government and the pharmaceutical industry have reached a tentative agreement to widen access to medicines and encourage innovation that involves spending caps on brand-name medicines and faster cost-effectiveness assessments, among other things.

The voluntary deal calls for the National Health Service to adopt newer medicines faster for five unidentified therapeutic categories. Drug makers agreed to an annual 2 percent cap on the growth in sales of branded medicines to the NHS. And the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence will speed its value appraisals so that all medicines are assessed as quickly as cancer treatments.

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