NICE will have key role in value-based pricing

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Professor David Haslam - web NICE will be responsible for assessing the value of medicines in the new value-based pricing (VBP) system to be implemented in 2014.

The Government’s decision to make NICE central to VBP follows recommendations by the Health Select Committee (HSC).

It also follows a report by the European Commission stating that NICE’s QALY metric, the basis of its current value appraisals, is unfit for purpose.

The new role in VBP assessment will enable NICE to broaden the scope of its appraisals of the costs and benefits of drugs.

This will simplify the current routine of NICE declaring a drug too expensive in draft guidelines and then revising its verdict when the company offers a confidential patient access scheme.

Health Minister Lord Howe said: “We are delighted to announce the central role NICE will take in assessing the value of new medicines. This will allow us to draw on NICE’s world-leading expertise as we develop the Value-Based Pricing scheme.”

From April, NICE will be led by new Chairman David Haslam (pictured). It will have responsibility for social care as well as the NHS and public health, enabling it to play a major role in the integration of care.

The Government approved three other HSC recommendations: NICE should develop healthcare quality standards for patients with long-term conditions, co-morbidities or complex needs; NICE should promote better-integrated commissioning and care; and industry should be more transparent as regards clinical trial data.

Stephen Whitehead, Chief Executive of the ABPI, commented: “What will determine whether value-based pricing works for the pharmaceutical industry, the NHS and most importantly patients is not who does the assessment, but how it is done and what goes into it.

“NICE has an important role in supporting growth, which is often overlooked. NICE needs to be an enabler of innovation by the NHS and this is lacking from the Government’s response.

“We urge the Government to keep its foot on the pedal in spreading innovation through the NHS and ensuring that NICE helps to deliver its part of the growth agenda.”