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Warning on epilepsy prescribing in children

NICE and controversy are regular bedfellows, but the institute outdid itself with the rumpus it caused over this week's draft appraisal on statins. NICE chose to restrict the drugs to patients with a 20 per cent 10-year CHD risk or over ­ despite its own economic analysis finding they would be cost-effective at 15 per cent risk or lower.

Loudly as NICE protested about side-effects and strength of evidence, it was its comments on 'the need to consider the effective use of NHS resources' that left the greatest impression. It was hard not to conclude that NICE had bowed to political masters nervous of signing away another giant wad of statins cash.

The consequence will be another horrendous guidance clash ­ a hypertension mark two ­ as the Joint British Societies prepare to release their very different guidelines. GPs need to believe NICE is an independent clinical body ­ not a tame pup of the Department of Health.

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