Deputy unhappy as HSC says Nice drugs review on target

HEALTH & Social Care is on target to take a report to the States next year on its review of drugs approved for use in the UK by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence.

Home Affairs president Deputy Rob Prow. (31114554)
Home Affairs president Deputy Rob Prow. (31114554)

It was set the task to look at Nice technology assessments in January 2020, after it was revealed that HSC had just over 3,000 people who were not receiving drugs that would be routinely available on the NHS.

HSC provided an update on its progress in a series of written answers to Home Affairs president Rob Prow, who said that he was ‘underwhelmed’ by the response.

The committee started out by saying its instruction was to provide an update within six months of the end of a two-year assessment, which began in January 2021 and which will end this December.

Giving a comprehensive update now would slow down progress, it said, so did not provide some of the details asked for by Deputy Prow, such as patient numbers and cost impacts at the end of the first year.

‘Significant preparatory work was completed during the course of 2020 to enable access to new drugs and treatments with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) value of less than £30,000,' it said.

‘While there is an ongoing process of learning in respect of the implementation, the committee is confident that drugs and treatments are reaching those who are eligible.’

The cost of Nice TA’s in 2021 was £1.2m., with expenditure increasing over the year up to £150,000 a month by December. So far the second year has matched that cost, which it said reflected the progressive rise in the cost of treatments.

‘The forecast for year two is approximately £3.5m.

‘The current estimate for 2023, building on this 18 month actual and six-month projection (with an inherent level of uncertainty with regards to timing, volume and unit costs for treatments) is £5m.’

Deputy Prow’s final question asked if the review would include consideration of the Innovative Medicines Fund and if it aimed to be as ambitious as the NHS in giving people access to promising and revolutionary treatments.

HSC said that drugs approved via the IMF were funded in the UK subject to the collation and sharing of data to establish their efficacy in the real world, and this involved NHS processes and IT systems.

It would be difficult to replicate this locally, it said.

Advice will be given to HSC by the Prescribing and Formulary Panel and HSC would advise the States of options for its future approach.

Deputy Prow said the response that the work on the Nice TA’s was ongoing was not satisfactory and it could not be right that information was not made public about what treatments were available and funded.

‘HSC needs to be completely transparent and the information must be made fully available in the public domain, as you find in other comparable jurisdictions,’ he said.

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