Intended for healthcare professionals


Darzi review: Right of patients to drugs recommended by NICE is strengthened

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 01 July 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a660
  1. Rebecca Coombes
  1. 1London

    Patients in England will have a new legal right to drugs approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) if a doctor says they are clinically appropriate.

    The right, outlined in health minister Ara Darzi’s review of the NHS, applies to drugs and treatments recommended by NICE technology appraisals. The findings of technology appraisals, which advise on whether to use a single drug or treatment and in what circumstances, are already mandatory for primary care trusts within three months of being issued.

    But the new right doesn’t extend to treatments recommended by NICE guidelines, a separate tier of advice from technology appraisals. In 2004, for example, NICE issued guidelines recommending that primary care trusts should offer women three attempts at in vitro fertilisation treatment; last month, however, a survey showed that only nine of England’s 151 trusts …

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