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Decline in NICE drug approvals

An analysis of appraisals from the UK's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has found access to drugs grew more restrictive between 2007 and 2009

An analysis of appraisals from the UK's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has found access to drugs grew more restrictive between 2007 and 2009.

The research, to be presented on November 9 at the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR), revealed that in 2007, one in three new drugs was fully recommended by the regulatory body, but by 2009 this figure was only one in 10.

Diseases generally treated within a hospital setting were particularly affected by this increase in restriction, with one out of 23 cancer treatments appraised receiving a full recommendation in 2009. Treatments for cardiovascular or metabolic conditions saw four out of every seven treatments receive full approval.

News of the research comes shortly after the coalition government announced proposals to reform NICE's powers so it could no longer reject treatments. If implemented, the plans would see GP groups decide whether or not a drug is to be funded, with NICE to provide advice on medicines' effectiveness. 

The coalition government has also recently confirmed plans for a £600m Cancer Drugs Fund over three years to provide greater access to cancer treatments. 

Maximilian Lebmeier, associate director health economics, Bristol-Myers Squibb, who led the analysis, said: "The coalition government has stated their commitment to widening access to medicines and we fully support this. The Cancer Drugs Fund is a good interim initiative for cancer patients, but we would like to see wider reform of the HTA system to make it fairer for all patients and widen access to effective medicines."


9th November 2010

From: Healthcare

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