1 April 2014

NICE Seeks Views on how it Assesses Drugs and Other Technologies for the NHS

NICE is beginning a public consultation on proposed changes to the way it makes recommendations on new medicines and other treatments for use in the NHS.

NICE assesses the clinical and cost effectiveness of new technologies to help ensure that patients have access to effective treatments and the NHS makes the best use of its resources.

The new proposals include ways to take into account more systematically and explicitly the severity of a disease, as well as the effect that diseases and conditions have on our capacity to engage in society.

The proposals outlined in the consultation have been developed taking into account the need to ensure consistency, predictability and transparency in the judgements made by our independent Appraisal Committees when they consider the clinical and cost effectiveness of health technologies.

The consultation makes clear that the Appraisal Committees will not use the age of people with particular conditions to make the difference between whether a new treatments is recommended or not. Similarly they will not use gender or any of the other ‘protected' characteristics under equalities legislation. In October 2012, the Government implemented a ban on age discrimination in the NHS.

Sir Andrew Dillon,Chief Executive of NICE, said: "These proposed changes to the way we value new treatments will add further clarity to our recommendations and enable our independent advisory committees to explore more fully the potential these treatments have to improve outcomes for patients."

NICE wants to hear from anyone interested in the appraisal of health technologies including patients, carers, patient groups, clinicians, academics, economists, industry and members of the public to help ensure that NICE's processes are robust and fair.

The consultation will begin on 27 March and last 3 months, ending on 20 June. The NICE Board will then consider the final changes to the Methods Guide and they will be introduced in the Autumn. Any topics referred to NICE after approval of the final new methods will be subject to the new arrangements