National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
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NICE consults on new appraisal methodologies

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) last week (6 December 2007) launched a consultation of its draft appraisals methods guide.

The Institute’s ‘Guide to the methods of technology appraisal’ document provides an overview of the principles and methods used by NICE to assess health technologies (drugs and other treatments). It is a guide both for the independent advisory committees that prepare NICE guidance and for those organisations representing patient groups, health professionals and manufacturers that submit evidence and comment on draft recommendations.

Stakeholders, healthcare professionals and members of the public now have the opportunity to comment on the draft technology appraisal methods guide from the NICE website (www.nice.org.uk) until 29 February 2008.

Carole Longson, Health Technology Evaluation Centre Director, said:
“NICE is the global leader in evaluating the benefits of new drugs and treatments. Our methods guide underpins the development of all of our appraisal guidance, it is therefore very important that we regularly review it to take into account the latest research and to reflect changes in healthcare economics. This review has been a valuable process which has enabled us to incorporate the views of a variety of stakeholders. We are now keen to hear from other stakeholders and the public in order to hear how they think our approach should evolve so that we can stay at the sharp edge of this important work.”

Notes to Editors

About NICE


1.The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is the independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance on the promotion of good health and the prevention and treatment of ill health.

2.NICE produces guidance in three areas of health:

public health – guidance on the promotion of good health and the prevention of ill health for those working in the NHS, local authorities and the wider public and voluntary sector
health technologies – guidance on the use of new and existing medicines, treatments and procedures within the NHS
clinical practice – guidance on the appropriate treatment and care of people with specific diseases and conditions within the NHS.

About Technology appraisals

3.Technology appraisals are recommendations on the use of new and existing medicines and treatments within the NHS, such as:

•medicines
•medical devices (for example, hearing aids or inhalers)
•diagnostic techniques (tests used to identify diseases)
•surgical procedures (such as repairing hernias)
•health promotion activities (for example, ways of helping people with diabetes manage their condition).

4.The Institute’s ‘Guide to the methods of technology appraisal’ document is used in conjunction with the ‘Guide to the technology appraisal process’ and the ‘Guide to the single technology appraisal process’, which describe the steps the Institute goes through in developing its guidance.

5.Until the updated guide is published, the current version will continue to be used for all ongoing appraisals.

6.NICE recommendations are based on a review of clinical and economic evidence.

•Clinical evidence measures how well the medicine or treatment works.
•Economic evidence measures how well the medicine or treatment works in relation to how much it costs the NHS - does it represent value for money.

7.NICE is asked to look at particular drugs and devices when the availability of the drug or device varies across the country. This may be because of different local prescribing or funding policies, or because there is confusion or uncertainty over its value. Our advice ends the uncertainty and helps to standardise access to healthcare across the country.

8.The NHS is legally obliged to fund and resource medicines and treatments recommended by NICE's technology appraisals.

9.For a copy of the draft appraisals methods guide and an overview of the methodologies review process go to the NICE website at http://www.nice.org.uk/page.aspx?o=TAMethodsReview.

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