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Health, ESS presidents seek drug policy change

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STATES members will be given the choice of spending at least £4m. a year extra making more drugs available or instead fast-tracking a review of local criteria instead.

(Picture by Fiona Hanson/PA

A requete by Deputy Peter Roffey wants Guernsey patients referred to the UK to have access to Nice [National Institute for Health and Care Excellence] approved drugs that are not normally available locally, but also says that in the medium term all Nice-backed drugs should be accessible here.

An amendment by Health & Social Care president Deputy Heidi Soulsby, seconded by Employment & Social Security president Deputy Michelle Le Clerc, instead proposes two options.

In it, the deputies stated that ‘the additional cost relating to pharmaceuticals only [for Nice-approved drugs] is estimated to be not less than £4-5 million per annum.'

‘The first option seeks to ensure that any changes to current policy are evidence-based and informed by a full review with independent, specialist healthcare public health input.

‘In accordance with the principles of good governance, it also allows time for a range of future funding options to be prepared to ensure that the financial implications for the States of Guernsey are known when deciding if new drugs and treatments should be publicly funded.

‘The review will consider the equitable access to drugs, treatments and devices for all patients in Guernsey and Alderney regardless of where such treatment is being delivered (i.e. off-island or on-island).

‘The prayer of the requete emphasises the needs of those patients who are referred to the UK for treatment and the drugs that are available to them on their return to the islands, to the exclusion of those patients who remain on-island for treatment.

‘Option 1 also asks the Policy & Resources Committee to prioritise the allocation of resources to expedite the review to enable the findings to be published no later than the end of the second quarter of 2019.

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‘It is anticipated that the cost of the specialist healthcare public health input required to carry out the review will not exceed £100,000.

‘This timescale will provide sufficient time to enable the budget of the States for 2020 to be informed by the review.

‘While the review is ongoing, the committees will continue to apply their current policy, under which doctors may apply for any Nice-approved drug to be funded by Health & Social Care or Employment & Social Security.

‘The committees commit to consider all applications extremely carefully and as quickly as possible.’

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The second option in the amendment calls to enable all drugs, treatments and devices supported by Nice Technology Appraisals to be made available.

It would also introduce a Cancer Drugs Fund on an interim basis, direct Policy & Resources to fund any additional costs needed for 2019 and consider future funding as part of the 2020 Budget.

n The requete will be debated in the States at its meeting which begins on 12 December.

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