MPs demand NICE speeds up its medicine evaluation

NICE needs to change the threshold and the methods it uses to evaluate medicines and technologies for use on the NHS, according to the Health Select Committee.

Today’s report criticises NICE for producing guidance with too little consideration for NHS affordability, covering a limited number of topics and failing to look at disinvestment for older treatments.

Currently, a quality adjusted life year (QALY) threshold of £20,000 is used by NICE. However, the Health Select Committee concluded that this threshold needs to be looked at in terms of what PCTs can afford and this needs to be reviewed by an independent body. 

Products need quicker evaluation at launch, to help guide clinicians, with a lower cost per QALY to be set for this early assessment period, according to the report.

It also said it was ‘unacceptable’ that NICE had ignored repeated recommendations to evaluate older, possibly ineffective treatments used in the NHS and advised for more to be done regarding disinvestment in this area.

NICE chairman Sir Michael Rawlins said: ‘Perhaps the most significant recommendation from the Health Select Committee is that we should consider all new drugs as they become available.’
A public meeting of the NICE board will discuss the outcomes of the Health Select Committee report on Wednesday 16 January.

rachel.liddle@haymarket.com

Health Select Committee report

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