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03.10.16

NICE to charge companies for drugs testing under new proposals

Pharmaceutical companies could face charges of up to £282,000 to have their medicines considered for use on the NHS, according to reports.

Proposals seen by the Sunday Times suggest that NICE, the body responsible for assessing new treatments for use on the NHS, is considering implementing charges of £99,000 - £282,000 for assessments, which companies will have to pay whether the bid is successful or not.

NICE currently funds its own clinical assessments, but is facing budget challenges as part of the £22bn deficit in the NHS.

Paul Catchpole, values and access director at the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), said: “The proposed flat-fee charges are the highest ever seen from any health technology assessment organisation in the world and the cost will be prohibitive for smaller companies and will also pose challenges for all companies in creating compelling business cases for launching medicines for smaller populations and for rarer diseases in the UK.

“This has the potential to create further inequalities in access to medicines for NHS patients.”

He said NICE should implement “considerable efficiency savings” instead of new charges.

The proposals are expected to be published soon as part of the Accelerated Access Review, a report into how the NHS can speed up access to innovative drugs.

A NICE spokesperson said the aim of the proposals was to “allow greater flexibility, ensure value for money for taxpayers, foster more productive relationships with industry and secure patient access to the very best services, technologies, devices and medicines”.

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