Wrong SIGN, NICE mess: is national guidance distorting allocation of resources?

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The Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network, a precursor to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) in England and Wales, has not yet started to consider cost effectiveness. NICE considers cost effectiveness but has been reluctant to advise against funding many costly new pharmaceuticals in the NHS in England and Wales. NICE must devise politically acceptable ways of refusing to spend taxpayers' money on costly new drugs and devices that lack demonstrable incremental cost effectiveness. Otherwise, new and often inefficient technologies will continue to fuel the widening gap between public expectations and public willingness to pay for the NHS. NICE should prioritise new national guidance within a fixed growth budget for the net cost of new technologies and in relation to incremental cost effectiveness. If reducing postcode rationing would compromise more important goals of equity or efficiency, NICE should sometimes refuse to issue definite national guidance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)743-745
Number of pages3
JournalBritish medical journal
Issue number7315
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sept 2001

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© 2001 BMJ Publishing Group Ltd

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