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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.

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