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NICE and NHS England launch tech consultation

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

NICE and NHS England have launched a 12 week consultation on changes to the arrangements for evaluating and funding drugs and other health technologies appraised through NICE’s Technology Appraisal (TA) and Highly Specialised Technologies (HST) programs.

NICE and NHS England intend to work together more closely to better manage access to new drugs and medical technologies (devices and diagnostics) by simplifying and speeding up some appraisals, and by making the arrangements for funding others more clear.

The proposed changes will benefit patients by providing access to the most effective and cost-effective new treatments more quickly and will help the life sciences industry by increasing the opportunities for companies to help manage the introduction of their new technologies into the NHS.

The NHS is committed to providing timely access to new treatments, but introducing new technologies in a way that is both good for UK business and, at the same time, optimizes the financial sustainability of the NHS can be challenging.

This consultation sets out a number of ways in which NICE and NHS England can provide an environment that encourages the life sciences industry and the NHS to work together in the best interests of patients. By facilitating collaboration and providing opportunities for early dialogue between innovators and the NHS, and by speeding up appraisal and adoption processes, NICE and NHS England can enable the development of arrangements that deliver the right outcomes for both patients and the life sciences industry.

Summary of proposals

  • Introduce a ‘fast track’ NICE technology appraisal process for the most promising new technologies, which fall below an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of £10,000 per QALY (quality adjusted life year), to get these treatments to patients more quickly.
  • Operate a ‘budget impact threshold’ of £20 million, set by NHS England, to signal the need for a dialogue with companies to agree special arrangements to better manage the introduction of new technologies recommended by NICE. This would apply to a small number of technologies that, once determined as cost effective by NICE, would have a significant impact on the NHS budget.
  • Vary the timescale for the funding requirement when the budget impact threshold is reached or exceeded, and there is therefore a compelling case that the introduction of the new technology would risk disruption to the funding of other services.
  • Automatically fund, from routine commissioning budgets, treatments for very rare conditions (highly specialised technologies) up to £100,000 per QALY (5 times greater than the lower end of NICE’s standard threshold range), and provide the opportunity for treatments above this range to be considered through NHS England’s process for prioritising other highly specialised technologies.

How to comment

  1. Read the consultation document (PDF)
  2. Fill-in the joint consultation proforma (Word)
  3. Email your comments and queries to TAandHSTconsultation2016@nice.org.uk.

During the consultation NICE and NHS England will be holding a number of webinars and face-to-face consultation events to discuss the proposals in more detail and answer queries about them.

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