DoH rejects call for independent NICE overhaul

Nice Inquiry - Government rejects proposals for review of NICE and inclusion of patient reviews in guidance.

Proposals for an independent inquiry into NICE's methods, and plans to include patient views in assessments, have been rejected by the government.

A research review by Sir David Cooksey, a venture capitalist who has held a variety of government advisory posts, recommended an independent review into how NICE calculates medicines' cost-effectiveness.

The current evaluation system needs to be complemented by input from clinicians, patients and researchers, he said.

The government rejected the advice, however, pointing to recent and planned changes to NICE and its guidelines.

'We do not believe an independent inquiry as proposed by Sir David is the right way of addressing the specific issues his report raises,' the DoH said.

'NICE has open and transparent processes,' it added. 'It consults periodically on both its technology appraisal methods and its appraisal processes, and is currently concluding the latest scheduled review of its appraisal process manual.'

Sir David's review also called for an assessment of NICE's impact on access to, and uptake of, new medicines in the UK.

But the government said the NHS Constitution made a commitment that all patients would, where clinically appropriate, have access to drugs that have been recommended by a NICE technology appraisal.

It added that the latest drug pricing agreement between the DoH and the pharmaceutical industry included a pledge to address uptake of medicines.

Sir David's report, Review and Refresh of Bioscience 2015, was published in January this year as an update to a report the government commissioned in 2006.

tom.moberly@haymarket.com

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