Words by GOLD newsdesk
Changes to the way in which medicines and other health technologies are evaluated by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for use in the NHS have been approved by the organisation after involvement from health system partners, industry, healthcare professionals, academia and patients.
Coming into effect in February, the updated methods and processes for new evaluations will give patients earlier access to innovative new treatments by allowing greater flexibility over decisions about value for money and consideration of a broader evidence base. Key changes also include a greater focus on treating the most severe conditions and rare diseases, allowing for more equitable access to medicines.
“Going forward, NICE will adopt a more modular approach to updates to its methods and processes. This will enable us to be more agile and responsive, monitoring, reviewing and improving our methods and processes into the future, making sure they remain cutting edge as the healthcare landscape continues to evolve,” said Professor Gillian Leng CBE, Chief Executive, NICE.
The industry responds
Welcoming NICE’s commitment to greater flexibility in its evaluation processes, Paul Catchpole, Value and Access Policy Director, Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, said that if taken in their entirety, the changes “will help support better access to life-changing medicines, today and in the future, while helping to deliver the UK Government’s Life Sciences Vision”.
Mr Catchpole added: “We share NICE’s ambition for fairness and equity of access to the latest medicines, including those for rare diseases. Rapid implementation will be vital so that patients can benefit as soon as possible.
“We look forward to continued collaboration on further methods and process improvements which can make the UK even better for patients and a go-to destination for life sciences companies to discover, develop and launch new medicines.”