Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature NICE

At last, NICE to take over the Cancer Drugs Fund

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: (Published 07 March 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i1324
  1. Nicholas Timmins, senior fellow
  1. King’s Fund, London, UK
  1. n.timmins{at}

The reincarnation of the Cancer Drugs Fund will benefit both NICE and the NHS, says Nicholas Timmins

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) celebrates its 17th birthday in April. By any standards it must be judged to have been one of the more successful pieces of public policy in the past couple of decades.

It has shielded politicians from many of the really difficult decisions about what the NHS should and should not provide. It has made cost effectiveness, as opposed to purely clinical effectiveness, a key part of that. And—amid repeated controversies—it has sought with considerable success to balance an essentially unequal equation. One between the interests of the taxpayer in cost effectiveness; the interests of individual patients, who when they are not paying simply want …

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