NICE

In 2009, the UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) issued supplementary advice that its Appraisal Committees are to consider when assessing treatments that extend life at the end of life. The policy places additional weight on the survival benefits for a small numbers of patients with terminal illnesses and short life expectancies. It assumes that this accurately reflects the preferences of the general public. However, little scientific evidence is available to support that premise.

HTAinSiteImagine being able to find, in ONE minute or less, which NICE Technology Assessments (TAs) make specific reference to QALY thresholds of £20,000 or £30,000, for example, or to risk sharing, or patient access schemes. This is possible using HTAinSite -- a unique resource of information on NICE Technology Appraisal decisions and the evidence used to support them.

Now out as a “FirstView” article in Health Economics, Policy and Law is an important analysis on the inclusion of social value judgments in NICE guidance, co-authored by OHE’s Koonal Shah with Richard Cookson and Tony Culyer of CHE, and Peter Littlejohns of King’s College.

The Daily Mail front page article of 16 May 2012, ‘New cancer drugs held up by the NHS for nine years’ purports to draw, as its source, from a report by the Office of Health Economics. The Daily Mail article is misleading and inaccurate in several key respects, and misrepresents the purpose and results of our study. Our report, Time Trends in NICE HTA Decisions, was published in January 2012.

Every year, OHE sponsors a lecture by an eminent economist or clinician that addresses an important current issue.

OHE's Dr Jorge Mestre-Ferrandiz is a visiting lecturer in the Department of Economics at City University London. As part of his 2012 activities, he recently gave a comprehensive lecture on the economics of the market for medicines in the UK.

According to the 1999 UK Department of Health consultation document, the fundamental purpose of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) was to reduce inequalities in access to innovative care and ensure more rapid access to medicines identified as being of value to the NHS. Since NICE’s debut in April 1999, several analyses have examined the uptake of technologies that have been considered by NICE, but no evidence had been published on whether and how NICE’s health technology appraisal (HTA) processes may have affected the speed of access to new treatments.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) routinely publishes details of the evidence and reasoning underpinning its recommendations, including its social value judgments. To date, however, although the principles related to cost-effectiveness are relatively explicit, those covering equity concerns generally are less specific.

During the last quarter of 2011, OHE team members were involved in discussions and presentations in a range of forums, covering each of OHE's three areas of focus. This post reviews their activities.

This is the first in a series of posts that will review OHE’s contributions to advancing thought and stimulating innovative ideas in its three key research areas: financing and delivery of health care, HTA methods and processes, and the economics of the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries.

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