'End-of-life' drugs threshold change5th January 2009
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has said it will "extend the threshold" for drugs for terminally ill patients in some circumstances.
Under new rules, NICE will approve treatments as cost-effective for patients who have under 24 months to live.
The decision comes after a public consultation which lasted five weeks and will come into force by the end of this month.
The Macmillan Cancer Support charity said that around 10,000 cancer patients may be helped by the announcement.
The new rules will affect treatment choices for some terminally ill patients and allow them to receive drugs that would have previously been deemed too costly.
The use of drugs on such patients, under the new rules, must be accompanied by proof that they will lengthen life in comparison with standard NHS treatment.
The drugs will also need to have a cost-effectiveness ratio in excess of £30,000 (the usual limit that NICE considers a "good use of NHS resources").
Andrew Dillon, NICE chief executive, said: "The Institute is also conscious of its responsibility to support the development of novel treatments for smaller patient groups that provide innovative benefits over and above existing NHS care."
Rachel Rowson, policy manager at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: "We hope this will now mean that people with rarer cancers and those at the end-of-life stage get access to the drugs they need on the NHS."
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Title: 'End-of-life' drugs threshold change
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 9698
Date Added: 5th Jan 2009