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Academics criticise plan to allow new drugs to bypass NICE

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b2938 (Published 21 July 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b2938
  1. Deborah Cohen
  1. 1BMJ

    Plans drawn up by the government to boost the life sciences industry have been criticised by some academics for eroding the cost effectiveness model of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and for undermining academic impedance.

    In their life sciences blueprint, innovative drugs will be approved for NHS use for a set period without having first gone through NICE’s appraisal process to allow data to build up to show cost effectiveness. After a predetermined period they will then go through the usual NICE appraisal process.

    The so called innovation pass will be piloted in 2010-11, with a budget of £25m (€29m; $41m), and then evaluated. Although what constitutes a successful pilot has yet to be decided, NICE will play a key role in developing and applying eligibility criteria for the pass and is set to enter discussions with industry and the NHS.

    Mike Rawlins, chairman of NICE, told the BMJ that the pass would be for the products where it is tricky to work out whether they are or are not cost effective. “What we’ll almost certainly do is set up an expert advisory committee to decide whether something is sufficiently innovative to warrant going down this pathway.”

    NICE is understood to have agreed with the new arrangements …

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