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Providing expert methodological advice to the UK’s National Health Service

The BMJ Technology Assessment Group (BMJ-TAG) conducts health research to help decide whether new drugs should be made available in the NHS.

Our team is made up of highly skilled clinical evidence analysts and health economists, with specialist expertise in:

    • Literature reviews and evidence synthesis;
    • Health technology assessment statistics, including network meta-analysis and survival analysis, and
    • Health economic modelling


  • 16,000 patients benefit from improved outcomes as a direct result of research conducted by BMJ-TAG

  • BMJ-TAG contributed to 12 policy docs in 2022, which touched an estimated 235K lives of patients.

  • Our work has led to 3,000 more women each year having access to cancer-preventative medicine.

Our research supports the role of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and other policymakers in the UK to improve health outcomes. Through rigorous and independent research, we actively enhance the healthcare landscape by evaluating the clinical- and cost-effectiveness of novel medicines, cutting-edge devices, and diagnostic tests destined for integration within the NHS.

Most of our work is for Single Technology Appraisals (STA), where we provide an independent report on the clinical and cost-effectiveness of health technologies for use in the NHS. These reports use evidence provided by a pharmaceutical company, various stakeholders and other published evidence.

Our reports help NICE Appraisal Committees make informed recommendations to the Department of Health and Social Care

Funding for our expertise stems from the work we do for NICE as part of the Technology Assessment Review (TAR) programme. The TAR programme is managed by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Evidence Synthesis Programme through their Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre (NETSCC)

Our work has led to some revolutionary changes in the way patients receive treatment through the UK’s NHS. In 2021, we independently assessed the use of new treatments for ovarian cancer and other life-threatening conditions. Our independent assessment of niraparib found it to be fit for use for ovarian cancer by the eligible population in England, and it was subsequently recommended by NICE.

In April 2022, as another result of TAG’s independent assessment, elosulfase alfa was recommended for use in the NHS by NICE for treating mucopolysaccharidosis
Type IV A (MPS IVA). Treatment is expected to start in children when they are around three years old and will be lifelong. If untreated, MPS IVA can cause skeletal
abnormalities, respiratory symptoms, pain, fatigue, and reduced life expectancy.

Elosulfase alfa is likely to slow disease progression and delay symptom onset. It also improves children’s quality of life by preserving lung function and improving endurance. However, it is still highly uncertain if elosulfase alfa increases someone’s life compared to being untreated, the company offered a substantial discount on the retail price of the drug, resulting in a large cost saving for the NHS.

The Society for Mucopolysaccharide Diseases (MPS Society) considers elosulfase alfa to be ‘life changing,’ with one parent reporting that:

“My son Sam has been receiving Vimizim [elosulfase alfa] for almost 10 years. He does not suffer from fatigue. He does not routinely have any pain. He is 13 [now] but is still very mobile and independent. Vimizim has had an incredible impact on his life, his quality of life and his independence.”

This year’s work has included several “me too” drugs, that is, drugs that might be considered to have the same efficacy and safety as other available options in the NHS but at a lower cost. The importance of these drugs lies in the savings achieved for the taxpayer and importantly, much needed cost savings for the NHS. Our team independently assessed two new treatments for diabetic macular oedema (dexamethasone and brolucizumab), a condition that can result in blindness, with both treatments.

BMJ-TAG is also called on to conduct its own research, when several new treatments need to be compared with current practice. This year, BMJ-TAG looked at three treatments for severe atopic dermatitis for use in adolescents and adults. As a result of our work, all three
treatments were approved.

Patient groups commenting on the appraisal highlighted the debilitating nature of severe atopic dermatitis, which goes beyond uncontrollable and
persistent itching, to detrimental effects on a person’s mental health and self-confidence.

“These new treatment options offer hope to patients who have exhausted all available treatments and have the potential to improve a patient’s quality of life.”
The Eczema Outreach Support group

Contact BMJ-TAG to discuss opportunities