More MS news articles for Mar 2002

Britain to reform NICE drug watchdog

Mar 05, 2002
By Richard Woodman
Reuters Health

The Department of Health on Tuesday announced proposals to reform Britain's controversial drug cost effectiveness watchdog.

The main changes proposed include giving health organisations, patient groups and industry a say over which topics the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) should examine.

These bodies would be offered representation on the Technologies Advisory Group--the secretive committee that advises Ministers on the priority to be given to product appraisals.

Other concessions include giving more flexibility to companies over the timing of NICE appraisals following industry protests that it is often difficult to assess the cost effectiveness of drugs until they have been on the market for some time.

"Although in general, new technologies should be appraised at time of launch, there can be special circumstances in which some delay might be appropriate," the department said in a statement.

A spokesman for the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, a frequent critic of NICE, welcomed the announcement but said it would need to examine the details.

The proposals will not be implemented until after a 3-month consultation period ends on Friday 7 June.

Copyright © 2002 Reuters Limited