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NICE to broaden medicines assessments from next year, says DH

NICE will take other factors into account when assessing medicines from next year, including whether the treatment is for a particularly severe condition or it reduces a patient’s care needs, but will no longer make the final decision on whether they will be funded on the NHS, the Government has confirmed.

In their response to the Health Select Committee’s report on the future role of NICE, the Government announced that NICE will expand on its current technology appraisals to more broadly assess the value of treatment to a patient, taking into account factors like the burden of the illness and its societal costs.

But, as former health secretary Andrew Lansley revealed last year, NICE will no longer make ‘yes’ or ‘no’ decisions on access to drugs from 2014 as the Department of Health will set the maximum price the NHS will pay in negotiations with manufacturers.

The change will come under a new ‘value-based pricing’ model due to be introduced in 2014. In 2010 the Government announced that the new scheme will replace the current quality adjusted life years (QALY) measurement by which drugs are currently assessed for funding on the NHS.

NICE will alter the way it evaluates medicines, by giving new products special weighting according to their additional benefits, and to make sure the price the NHS pays for new medicines is more closely linked to their value to patients and society.

The Government’s response said: ‘NICE will be responsible for the full value assessment of medicines under the future system.

‘Work to develop the new system builds on NICE’s existing technology appraisals processes, but it is also capable of incorporating a broader assessment of a medicine’s benefits and costs, taking into account factors such as burden of illness and wider societal benefits. Importantly, it imposes no requirements on companies to collect additional data.’

They added that as value is a societal judgement, they will set the overall framework for value-based pricing to include key weightings to reflect components of a new medicine’s value, such as treating a particularly severe condition, or reducing a patient’s care needs.

However, some aspects will be considered as part of the negotiations between the DH and the branded pharmaceutical industry on new arrangements for the pricing of branded medicines.

Elsewhere in the report, the Government agreed that the plans for value-based pricing need to be finalised soon and welcomed the committee’s call for better information about drug trials and a new code of practice

Health minister Lord Howe said: ‘We are delighted to announce the central role NICE will take in assessing the value of new medicines. This will allow us to draw on NICE’s world-leading expertise as we develop the value-based pricing scheme.’

Sir Andrew Dillon, chief executive of NICE, said: ‘We welcome the opportunity to take the central role in value based pricing and we look forward to working with the Department of Health and our stakeholders in developing the methods and processes for the new system.’

Pulse Live: 30 April - 1 May, Birmingham

Pulse Live

NICE chair Professor David Haslam will chair Pulse Live, Pulse’s new two-day annual conference for GPs, practice managers and primary care managers, will cover the latest developments in telehealth.

Pulse Live offers practical advice on key clinical and practice business topics, as well as an opportunity to debate the future of the profession, and a top range of speakers includes NICE chair designate Professor David Haslam, GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey and the Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell MP, chair of the House of Commons health committee.

To find out more and book your place, please click here

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