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Thursday 27th October 2016

High cost low volume drugs to be assessed

20th July 2012

The role of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence looks set to be extended as it takes on work to assess very high cost drugs for people who suffer with rare conditions.


That work is currently being managed by the Advisory Group for National Specialised Services (AGNSS) but under reforms being put in place through the Health and Social Care Act 2012, which also establishes the NHS Commissioning Board, NICE looks set to get an increased role in this area.

The Department of Health said NICE will take over the role from next April.

Its tasks in this respect, says the Department, will be to create an impartial and robust mechanism for providing independent recommendations on which drugs the NHS Commissioning Board should commission as part of its new role of national commissioner for specialised services.

Health Minister Lord Howe said: “The assessment of very high cost drugs for patients with rare conditions is an important strand of work of the Advisory Group for National Specialised Services which needs to be properly secured for the future.”

He said that NICE will develop interim methods for the first few assessments and will take forward a consultation exercise in 2013/14 to ensure the process they put in place is robust, transparent and consistent.

NICE chairman Professor Sir Michael Rawlins said: “As with all our work, we will be consulting widely with patients, carers, clinicians, commissioners and industry to ensure that we develop a robust and transparent process for making decisions about these highly specialised drugs.”


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