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20.07.12

NICE to offer recommendations for expensive medication

High-cost medicines for rare conditions will be subject to NICE guidance from April 2013, the Department of Health has announced.

The new service is being launched as one of the reforms introduced by the Health and Social Care Act 2012. NICE will be acting in a new faculty to provide evidence summaries recommending to the NHS Commissioning Board which drugs and medication to commission.

The reform has been implemented to provide “an impartial and robust mechanism for providing independent recommendations”, the DH stated.

Particular attention will be given by NICE to assessing the access of high cost medication to patients suffering from rare conditions; a service that is currently carried out by the Advisory Group for National Specialised Services.

Health minister Lord Howe stated: “The assessment of very high cost drugs for patients with rare conditions is an important strand of work of the Advisory Group for National Specialised Services which needs to be properly secured for the future. Our decision to give this work to NICE from April 2013 means that there will be a robust, independent and transparent assessment of these drugs.”

Professor Sir Michael Rawlins, chairman of NICE, also commented: “We are looking forward to taking on this new role from next April. As with all our work, we will be consulting widely with patients, carers, clinicians, commissioners and industry to ensure that we develop a robust and transparent process for making decisions about these highly specialised drugs.”

The reports to be issued by NICE, will be designed for use by bodies such as budget holders, Area Prescribing Committees and commissioners.

NICE has published an interim process statement that outlines the principles and stages of producing Evidence summaries and will be conducting a review in 2013/14 to assess the quality and consistency of their recommendation summary process.

The interim process statement can be found at: www.nice.org.uk/mpc/evidencesummariesnewmedicines/ESNMInterimProcessStatement.jsp

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