NICE – good news!

Whitehall, London, looking south towards the H...
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Government proposes changes to system of medicine pricing in the NHS

The Government is moving to ‘a system of value-based pricing’.

Basically, this probably means they won’t acknowledge that NICE is a ‘waste of space’, as said by an MP – but saving face, they are doing ‘as set out in the NHS White Paper, ‘Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS’.

Crystal English was never the forte of any Whitehall mandarin, but they say ‘the Government proposes to reform the way that drug companies are paid for NHS medicines, moving to a system of value-based pricing when the current scheme expires (2014) and a new role for NICE.

The Patients’ Association says it is hoped that this will help ensure better access for patients to effective drugs, technologies and innovative treatments on the NHS and secure value for money for NHS spending on treatments. As part of this plan, it is proposed that by 2014, NICE will lose its power to turn down new treatments for use on the NHS and instead will give advice on which drugs and technologies are effective.

The decision on whether patients should be given treatments will be determined by GP consortium (sic) who will decide whether a treatment should be funded or not. Ministers hope that with value-based pricing, they will be able to make new treatments affordable to the NHS by negotiating with pharmaceutical companies on price

In response to the move, The Patients Association made the following statement, “We welcome the proposed move to a system which will make effective treatments more affordable to the NHS and ensures licensed and effective drugs are available to patients. It is important that patients are able to access clinically effective drugs that their doctors believe will most benefit them, help to improve their quality of life and may extend their lives.”

Dr Richard Barker, director general of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, also welcomed the move, saying, “It should be a clinical decision on what medicine a patient needs, informed by a broader sense of value than the current one that NICE applies,” he said.

Significant concerns must be addressed before the plans are implemented. The process that GP consortia use to determine whether they will fund a drug must be open, transparent and fair. They also must ensure that some consistency is achieved so that the availability of drugs, does not vary by location.

So keep on trawling the Internet – keep on asking doctors for information about new drugs, and print out data supplied by the US medical research centres.   Your GP can’t be an expert on all drugs, but if given copies of research from reputable agencies, they can follow this up on your behalf.

And if you find the drug your doctor recommends has been approved by a European agency – then I somehow suspect that you will find you won’t need to fight the battles of the previous decade ; let’s hope so.

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2 thoughts on “NICE – good news!

  1. Irene November 6, 2010 at 12:05 pm Reply

    ‘Nice’ one (s’cuse the pun). Movement aka proress methinks. Thanks

    • Verite Reily Collins November 6, 2010 at 12:16 pm Reply

      I love puns – it’s my childish mind!

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