Changes come into effect from next month to the way medicines and other health technologies are evaluated by NICE for use in the NHS

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With ‘extensive involvement’ from healthcare professionals, academia, and patients, NICE says the changes ‘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.’

The changes cover how topics are chosen, steps and stages in each evaluation, and how evidence is collected and considered.

Key changes being implemented from next month include:

  • giving additional weight to health benefits in the most severe conditions, to allow more equitable access to treatments for these conditions and not just to treatments used at the end of life
  • adopting new approaches to the evidence NICE considers in its assessments
  • allowing more flexibility for NICE’s independent committees in cases where its particularly difficult to generate enough evidence
  • adopting a clearer vision, principles, and routing criteria for treatments for very rare diseases that NICE will evaluate under its Highly Specialised Technologies Programme.

A ‘robust foundation’ for NICE evaluations

Professor Gillian Leng CBE, NICE Chief Executive, said: ‘Our vision at NICE is to be at the forefront of delivering access for patients in the NHS to valuable, evidence-based innovative medicines, medical devices, and diagnostics. The changes that we are making will provide a robust foundation for our evaluations now and in the future, and enable us to continue to lead the way in rapid, independent health technology assessments.

‘But they are not the end of the story. In the short term, we will explore the impacts and benefits of the updated methods and processes. We need to ensure they are effectively implemented in order to realise the benefits for NICE, the NHS, and the wider stakeholder community, as well as supporting the Government’s wider vision for life sciences.’

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