Under proposals launched at the weekend by shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) would be retained.
But Mr Lansley wants access to new drugs within three to six months, rather than the current average waiting time of 18 months.
He argued that the system of ministerial referral for new drugs be removed, and allowing NICE to begin its assessment as the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency begins phase three trials.
A new system of value-based drug pricing should be introduced and NICE should take into the account the wider social cost of denying a drug to patients when assessing its value or benefit.
Other proposals include shifting the burden of proof as to the effectiveness of new drugs from NICE to the manufacturer, with drugs companies having to prove the drug works rather than NICE proving it does not.
Mr Lansley said: ‘Too often the NHS treats NICE as an excuse for delay. We have to move to a system where NICE facilitates access to the best care at the earliest possible time.’