Man holding chest

Thousands to benefit faster after NICE revamps appraisal process

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has made a new recommendation on chronic lung disease eight weeks faster than its usual appraisal process takes.

The draft guidance recommends that nintedanib should be provided to a larger range of people with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which is expected to benefit more than 5,000 people in the first year following this guidance.

Nintedanib is currently used to treat people with forced vital capacity values between 50% and 80%, but that is being extended to include people with a forced vital capacity of more than 80% of normal lung capacity.

Forced vital capacity is the amount of air that a person can forcibly exhale from their lungs after taking their deepest breath. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a progressive lung disease that causes patients to experience breathlessness, coughing, a decline in overall lung function, as well as a worse quality of life.

NICE has been able to expedite the approval process by using its new proportionate approach to technology appraisals, enabling it to review nintedanib a full two months quicker than usual.

The new approach acknowledges that not all technologies need to go through the entire appraisal process; in view of that, NICE are “simplifying, removing, or reconfiguring” parts of the exiting process.

For this particular appraisal, the technical engagement step was cut out and the committee decision was taken outside of a formal meeting, supporting the aim of making the process faster.

From initial invitation to final draft guidance, the regular appraisal process takes around 40 weeks, but with these revamped protocols, NICE has been able expedite to patient access to life-improving medicines.

The draft guidance has been released for appeals; if there are no appeals, the guidance will be published in February 2023.

Helen Knight, interim director of medicines evaluation at NICE, said: “Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a devastating condition which impacts the length and quality of people’s lives. Our independent appraisal committee’s recommendation means more people will be able to access this treatment sooner.

“The proportionate approach is designed to develop a flexible and pragmatic approach to appraisals, learning from our experience and responding to the increased need of guidance for the healthcare system.”

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