Court of Appeal orders NICE to be more open

NICE warns drug appraisals could take longer after drug manufacturers win Alzheimer's legal challenge.

NICE claims drug appraisals could take longer after the Court of Appeal ruled it must be more open about the way it calculates cost-effectiveness.

Last week, Eisai, manufacturer of the Alzheimer's drug donepezil (Aricept), won its argument to be given an operational version of the economical model used by NICE when it decided the drug should not be given to patients with mild Alzheimer's disease.

NICE chief executive Andrew Dillon said: 'The ruling will increase the complexity of our drug appraisals in some cases and they may take longer as a result.

'In the meantime, and in accordance with the judges' ruling, we will provide Eisai with an executable version of the economical model used in our appraisal, so that it can comment on it,' he added.

'We will then take those comments into account.'

A 'read-only' version of NICE's economic model is available but the Court of Appeal ruled an 'executable' version including additional functions and calculations should be made available to Eisai.

NICE said the economical model is put together differently for each technology appraisal. The ruling applies to this individual case and may not be borne out in other appeals.

In June last year, a judicial review ruled in favour of just one of six grievances put forward by Eisai after NICE published guidelines stating that donepezil should only be given to patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease.

rachel.liddle@haymarket.com

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