NICE's new role?

Minister confirms NICE will be sidelined in drug evaluation

from inpharm.com

Published on 26/10/10 at 09:29am

NICE's London offices: Lord Howe admitted the cost-effectiveness body will be moved away from single health technology assessments towards the formulation of quality standards

A health minister has confirmed NICE will be “moved” from its current central role in health technology assessment to make way for value-based pricing of medicines.
Health Minister Lord Howe was speaking at a conference co-hosted by industry bodies the ABPI and the BIA on the future of innovation and drug research and development.

NICE has long been seen as a barrier to access by the pharma and biotech industries, and now the Conservatives have confirmed their plans to muzzle the clinical effectiveness watchdog.

NHS bodies are currently obliged to follow (or at least consider) NICE ‘guidance’ but the changes will mean its cost-effectiveness reports will in future be purely ‘advisory’.

When asked if NICE’s role in HTA was to be removed, Lord Howe admitted that the cost-effectiveness body had become “redundant” and would be “moved gradually away from single health technology assessments towards the formulation of quality standards.”

Lord Howe was careful to say that the work NICE does to evaluate clinical cost-effectiveness will remain “very, very important”, but added: “in terms of cost-effectiveness, even though we will rely on NICE’s advise, we will move onto our own value-based pricing system [VBP].”

Speaking at the same event David Willetts, minister for universities and science, said the Department of Health was looking for a “change in NICE” and, having previously discussed the issue with health secretary Andrew Lansley, Willetts added: “I know that he [Lansley] wants NICE to have a more advisory role as VBP comes into place.”

Value-based pricing for UK pharma
The health minister was keen to confirm that the existing pricing agreement, the PPRS, would be honoured until it ends in three years’ time.

Lord Howe said: “So that there is no doubt, the current terms of the PPRS pricing system will be upheld in full until it comes to an end in 2013,” but after this it will be replaced by the government’s evolving definition of value.

He stressed however that the coalition government wants to ensure that patients and the NHS are allowed access to the medicines they both want and require.

“We need a much closer link to the price the NHS pays and the value that a new medicine delivers,” and Lord Howe said that the new system of value-based pricing, to be introduced after the PPRS expires in late 2013, will deliver this.

Lord Howe told Pharmafocus that the details were still to be “ironed out” as to what will define ‘value’ in this context, but he did express the need that its definition must be broadly agreed by pharma, patients and the NHS.

The ABPI has confirmed that it is in close talks with the minister to ensure the ‘best deal’ for pharma and for patients.

Ben Adams

1 comment:

Elena said...

The best deal for patients is a very low cost.