The Scottish government has ordered a review of access to medicines on the NHS follwing concerns from clinicians and patients.
The review aims to ensure procedures for making new drugs available are consistent, and will look at every aspect of decision making, both locally and nationally.
Presently The Scottish Medicines Consortium advises NHS boards on newly-licensed medicines. It appraises all new medicines and advises health boards whether they are cost efficient or not.
If a medicine is accepted for use, then health boards set the criteria for prescribing it, but if the medicine is not accepted then health boards do not make it routinely available.
Clinicians can prescribe drugs not recommended for routine use, but have to put in an individual patient treatment request.
Health Secretary Alex Neil told the BBC; "We know that the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) is globally respected and has the fastest and most efficient medicine review process anywhere in the UK.
"Some clinicians, charities and patients have, though, raised concerns about access to medicines, so it is only right that we look at ways that we could potentially improve access arrangements."
Prof Bill Scott will assess how the consortium’s decisions are implemented by NHS boards, while independent expert Prof Philip Routledge will review the SMC’s assessment processes.
Convener and Labour MSP Duncan McNeil, told the BBC; "The committee is surprised that the Scottish government has chosen to announce a separate inquiry, given that the committee’s work on these issues is on-going.
"Nevertheless, the committee welcomes the announcement of the review, which will give an opportunity for these issues to be looked at again in depth and by experts."