Innovation Drops Down NICE’s Value Agenda

March 18, 2014
Julian Upton

Julian Upton is Pharmaceutical Executive's Online and European Editor. He can be reached at jupton@mjhlifesciences.com

Pharmaceutical Executive

Innovation as a consideration of value-based pricing decisions will be conspicuous by its absence in future NICE decisions.

Innovation as a consideration of value-based pricing decisions will be conspicuous by its absence in future NICE decisions.

Omar Ali, a UK formulary development pharmacist and consultant to NICE, speaking at eyeforpharma’s Barcelona 2014 conference on Wednesday, explained that the UK price watchdog will prioritize considerations of wider societal benefit and unmet need as it makes decisions going forward.

NICE’s consultation on value-based assessment (as it is now being called) has been extended to October, having failed to meet its much-vaunted start-date of January 2014. The Institute’s new ‘roadmap to VBA’ now prioritizes burden of illness, wider societal impact, life extending treatment at end of life, certainty ICER and non-health objectives of the NHS, with the “innovative nature of technology” being a less pressing concern.

Given that much ink has been spilled reaching definitions of innovation during NICE’s already-lengthy VBP consultation period, the move seems quite a turnaround.

But Ali explained that “using innovation in a pricing context has not been tried and tested.”

Innovation is something that is more likely to be challenged in a court than wider societal benefit or unmet need. Since the healthcare system is imperfect, Ali went on, the innovative step that a drug shows in clinical trials may not be seen in a real-world situation.

“The innovation star will not shine in an imperfect system,” he added.

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