Patients are still not receiving NICE approved drugs, report says
Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7045
- Calcium and bone
- Musculoskeletal syndromes
- Drugs: cardiovascular system
- Ischaemic heart disease
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The claim that this analysis shows that NHS patients are being denied NICE-approved drugs misrepresents its findings.
As the authors emphasise, the analysis is compromised by uncertainty about the reliability of the data. They unequivocally state: 'In interpreting these figures it is important to note that predicted and observed use may differ for a variety of reasons and they should not be assumed to definitely indicate either „under‟ or „over‟ prescribing'.
They were able to compare predicted and estimated uptake only for a minority of NICE-approved medicines - 12 of 52, in 13 of 25 groups. Estimated use was below what was predicted in half of these cases. Even if the data were completely sound, this is hardly evidence of rationing.
This is the third of the annual reviews of uptake of NICE-approved medicines introduced under the 2009 PPRS as part of the initiatives to increase prescribing of 'innovative' medicines. The authors emphasise that their analysis is 'experimental' because of the imperfections of the data. The reader can sense hesitation and reluctance in almost every word the statisticians write.
Competing interests: None declared
Freelance, Alexandra Terrace, Hexham NE46 3JH
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