New drugs available on NHS before NICE appraisal
The new scheme will allow patients with rare diseases to receive important new drugs which have not been appraised by the NHS rationing body, NICE (National Institute for Curbing Expenditure).
It will allow the makers to build up sufficient evidence on the benefits of the drugs which will then be used by Nice to decide if the medicine is cost effective enough for the NHS.
Currently, it is very difficult to provide enough evidence of a drug’s benefits if only small numbers of people take it.
A pilot scheme of the so-called Innovation Pass has been launched by ministers.
The Innovation Pass pilot will be funded from a ring-fenced £25m budget in 2010/11.
Health Minister Mike O’Brien said: “I am extremely pleased to launch this consultation that will help patients with the greatest need to benefit from and get access to exciting new innovative drugs.
“The Innovation Pass pilot will help collect the essential data needed to demonstrate that such drugs, which would not otherwise be available to patients, are making a big difference to their lives.”
Andrew Dillon, Chief Executive of Nice, said: “We recognise that for a small number of very promising new treatments, the evidence available may not reveal their full potential benefits for patients.
“Where there is a high risk that a Nice appraisal of a new treatment at the point of its first use in the NHS might underestimate its benefits, providing the opportunity to gather more evidence and making the treatment available before undertaking an appraisal is the right thing to do.
“We’re happy to play our part in making this new arrangement work well, and that it works in the interests of patients and the NHS.”
The Innovation Pass pilot consultation will run for 10 weeks, closing on 8th February 2010. Input and comments are welcome from all groups including stakeholders, industry, the NHS and patient groups.