The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is to produce a best practice guide to help NHS trusts develop local formularies.
The move is designed to ensure patients across England have uniform access to the drugs it approves and will cover the creation and review of local formularies to assist local trusts and clinical commissioning groups.
Dr Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive of NICE, said: “NICE will embark on a specific piece of work to look at how local formularies are put together. At the moment there is no standard process for them and there tends to be a lot of variation and inconsistency across England.
“We will be holding a workshop to develop the guide, which will then go out to consultation before being published later this autumn.”
“NICE-approved drugs should not be excluded from local formularies on the grounds of cost. We want all patients to have access to medicines that we consider to be effective,” she added.
Local formularies provide a list of selected or preferred drugs available to local prescribers, but there is no standard process or advice for creating a local formulary, which has led to variations across the country.
A recent healthcare innovation report by the Department of Health highlighted that not all local formularies are including all of NICE's technology appraisals and some are duplicating NICE assessments and challenging appraisal recommendations.
The report recommends that formulary processes should proactively consider the impact of new NICE technology appraisals, and all NICE technology appraisal recommendations should, where clinically appropriate, be automatically incorporated into local formularies.
This process should take place within 90 days to support compliance with the three-month funding direction and the NHS Constitution.
Elsewhere, the report outlines plans to introduce, within three months, a NICE Compliance Regime for the funding direction attached to NICE technology appraisals to ensure rapid and consistent implementation throughout the NHS.