Britain to Reform NICE Drug Watchdog

LONDON (Reuters Health) Mar 05 – 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 the topics that 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, which follows industry protests that it is often difficult to assess the cost effectiveness of drugs until they have been on the market for a while.

"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. …

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